A poem written by former London Mayor Boris Johnson poking fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a competition sponsored by the U.K.’s The Spectator.
In the satirical limerick, Johnson not-so-subtly refers to to Erdogan as a “wankerer” and alludes to his coital relationship with a goat. The poem was the result of a contest put on by The Spectator in response to Germany’s prosecution of a comedian who read a poem lampooning the Turkish leader on television. The British magazine offered a prize of approximately $1,440 to the winner of the contest.
Contest manager and Spectator columnist Douglas Murray announced the winner this week.
“I’m pleased to announce that we have a winner of The Spectator’s President Erdogan Offensive Poetry competition, and here it is:”
There was a young fellow from Ankara,
Who was a terrific wankerer,
Till he sowed his wild oats,
With the help of a goat,
But he didn’t even stop to thankera.
Technically, Johnson broke the rules regarding making up words and never even officially submitted the poem — the former mayor and current member of Parliament released it during an interview with Germany’s Die Weltwoche. Murray pardoned Johnson’s transgressions, and noted that he plans to give the money to charity.
“For myself, I think it a wonderful thing that a British political leader has shown that Britain will not bow before the putative Caliph in Ankara,” said Murray in his announcement. “Erdogan may imprison his opponents in Turkey. Chancellor Merkel may imprison Erdogan’s critics in Germany. But in Britain we still live and breathe free.”
German officials cited archaic lèse-majesté laws when they pressed charges against comedian Jan Böhmermann. The laws generally criminalize insulting heads of state, whether foreign, domestic, or in this case, both. The Netherlands has similar laws in place, which the Turkish consulate exploited when it attempted to recruit local Turkish organizations to report any demeaning utterances against Erdogan. Several other European countries continue to infringe upon freedom of speech by employing lèse-majesté laws.
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