Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has annoyed a fair amount of people in Europe.
So much so that a British magazine, the Spectator, offered a £1,000 ($1,440) prize for the most offensive poem against Erdoğan. The competition was in response to the prosecution of a German comedian, who read a poem mocking Erdoğan on TV. German authorities are exploiting a fairly obscure lèse majesté law against insulting a head of state to satisfy their Turkish partners.
The principle also exists in Netherlands, where the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam was heavily criticized for asking local Turkish organizations to report derogatory statements against the Turkish president.
After receiving thousands of entries, the Spectator announced that former London mayor Boris Johnson had won the competition with the following entry:
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.
Johnson’s limerick about the Turkish president having sex with a goat was first performed impromptu during an interview with the Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche.
Though Johnson didn’t formally enter the competition and broke the ban on using the made-up word “wankerer,” the former mayor was awarded the prize for being willing to stand up to Erdoğan and for free speech. Competition organizer Douglas Murray said:
Certainly there were better poems. For sure there were filthier ones (and may I take this opportunity to congratulate the person who got the term ‘dirty trombone’ into their entry? The discovery that something called a ‘Turkey slap’ already exists also inspired several readers to new poetic heights).
But this award is entirely anti-meritocratic. 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.