Boris Kemal Bey Johnson, the new mayor of London, is an ethnic Turk. His paternal great-grandfather was Ali Kemal Bey, a high profile Turkish journalist and Interior Minister. Boris’ grandfather Osman, who was born in England while Ali was in exile, took on his grandmother’s maiden name of Johnson.
As longtime readers will know, I’m not big on the Turks. Despite the doner kebab being my favourite takeaway meal, Turks in positions of governmental authority tend to worry me. But not wanting to be given to stereotyping, I must acknowledge that there are good Turks and bad Turks. Boris comes from a line of good Turks.
I say this because Ail Kemal Bey passionately condemned the attacks on the Armenians during the genocide of 1915. Again, as longtime readers will know, I am not willing to let the Armenian Genocide be swept under the rug of history.
The question is whether the good line stops at Boris. Ali’s great-grandson has not made an passionate condemnation of the genocide. There have been a number of oportunities in Parliament to do so. In the current session there have been four Early Day Motions about it, none of which have been signed by the MP for Henley. In the last session a motion by then-Tory MP Bob Spink garnered 182 signatures. Boris’ wasn’t one of them.
In addition to being a flamboyant character, Boris is now in one of the most influential poilitical roles in the country. He has been elected by a greater constituency than any other Conservative politician. Is he going to be one of the good Turks? We have yet to see, but so far it doesn’t look promising. Neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Government have been supportive of the Armenian cause. Politics has won out over truth. I hope pressure can be brought to bear to encourage Boris to follow the example of his great-grandfather.