Boris Johnson says UK will support Turkey's bid to join EU despite Brexit vote

Foreign secretary says UK 'will help Turkey in any way'

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The Independent Online

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said the UK will support Turkey's bid to join the European Union despite voting to leave the bloc.

"We may be leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe," Mr Johnson said on his first official visit to Ankara

"And Britain," the foreign secretary added, "will help Turkey in any way."

Mr Johnson also praised Turkey for making his "beautiful" and "very well-functioning" washing machine, in comments aimed at repairing relations between the two nations after he accused the Turkish president of having sex with a goat.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Turkey's EU Minister Omer Celik speak to the media before a meeting in Ankara (AP)

In May, Mr Johnson won a £1,000 prize for a limerick about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a free speech debate:

The limerick read: "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."

Mr Johnson was also previously accused of deliberately lying to voters about Turkish migration during the EU referendum campaign. 

However, speaking at a news conference alongside Turkey's EU affairs minister Omer Celik, Mr Johnson emphasised how important it is for the two nations to work together after Britain leaves the EU. 

“We are lucky in the United Kingdom to be one of the biggest recipients of Turkish goods,” the former Mayor of London said.

“I am certainly the proud possessor of a beautiful, very well-functioning Turkish washing machine,” he added.

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Mr Celik said although his nation respected Britain’s decision to leave the EU he strongly criticised the "anti-Turkish rhetoric" that emerged during the campaign. 

"We have to close this ugly parenthesis and look to the future," Mr Celik said. 

In honour of his visit to Turkey, Mr Johnson's ancestral village pledged to sacrifice "many sheep".

The town of Kalfat in Anatolia, the home of Mr Johnson’s paternal great-grandfather, takes immense pride in his achievements and has offered to repaint the village and give him the full red carpet treatment if he visits.