British FM Johnson opens Turkey visit in refugee town

British FM Johnson opens Turkey visit in refugee town

British FM Johnson opens Turkey visit in refugee town

AA photo

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson paid a visit to the southeastern province of Gaziantep on Sept. 26, holding a series of meetings with Turkish officials and Syrians taking refuge in government camps.

Kicking off his first Turkey visit as British Foreign Minister, Johnson arrived in Gaziantep with a convoy joined by Britain’s ambassador to Ankara, Richard Moore, and the U.K. Special Representative for Syria, Gareth Bayley.

As part of his program, Johnson was first briefed about the lives of the Syrian guests in the camps and the services offered to them. The minister later visited the health center, elementary school and kindergarten of the refugee camp in Nizip along with the district governor Harun Sarıfakıoğlu and AFAD provincial head Adil Şiraz. 

During the visit, Johnson also found a chance to talk with refugees and was hosted by a Syrian family. 

Later in his program, Johnson is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, as well as his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik in capital Ankara. 

The visit comes after Johnson made a series of controversial references to Turkey during the recent referendum campaign in the U.K. to leave the EU. He also raised eyebrows in April after writing a crude poem about President Erdoğan for an “offensive poetry competition” run by the British political magazine The Spectator.

Speaking about Johnson’s performance during the Brexit campaign, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said in July that he hopes the recently appointed foreign minister would be “led back to the right way.”