1969 Turkish novel 'predicts' Ottoman descendant Boris Johnson would rise to power

1969 Turkish novel 'predicts' Ottoman descendant Boris Johnson would rise to power
The 1969 novel seems to have predicted Boris Johnson's rise to UK prime minister - with a little help from the Freemasons, according to the writer.
3 min read
25 July, 2019
Boris Johnson's great-grandfather was an Ottoman citizen [Getty]

The rediscovery of a Turkish novel from the 1960s has led to the shock revelation that a fictional character may have accidentally predicted Boris Johnson's appointment as prime minister of the UK.

According to a character in author Kemal Tahir's novel "Wolf Law", Johnson's Ottoman great-grandfather Ali Kemal was a Freemason - apparently a widely held belief in Turkey at the time.

Despite Kemal having been assassinated during the Turkish War of Independence - considered a traitor to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's cause - his connection to Freemasonry would mean one of his descendants would certainly rise to high office.

Two of Johnson's relatives on the Turkish side of his family, Zeki and Selim Kuneralp, served as diplomats.

But perhaps the Freemasons were after a higher office than ambassador.

Former London Mayor Johnson officially took office on Wednesday after a Conservative Party leadership race following former Prime Minister Theresa May's resignation.

On the same day, one Turkish social media discovered that Tahir's novel had made the peculiar prediction that one of Kemal's relatives would rise to power - with the help of the Freemasons, that is.

For many Brits it is hard to believe their new prime minister has roots in the Ottoman Empire.

Johnson has repeatedly been slammed for making Islamophobic and racist comments - such as claiming last year Muslim women wearing burqas look like "letterboxes".

The former foreign secretary's rocky history with Turkey also makes the claims difficult to understand.

While Johnson once advocated for Turkey to join the European Union, during the Brexit Leave campaign, he warned that staying in the union would mean millions of Turks migrating to the UK - a claim widely perceived as xenophobic and racist.

He also won a competition for the "most offensive poem" about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan back in 2016. Johnson's entry referenced the president having sex with a goat.

Who was Boris Johnson's great-grandfather?

Ali Kemal was an Ottoman journalist and politician from the village of Kalfat in central Anatolia, whose residents are reportedly overjoyed the hardline Brexiteer managed to climb the greasy pole to power.

Residents of the village say the family is known as "Sarioglangiller" or "the sons of those with blonde hair", according to Demiroren news agency - not a surprising fact given Johnson's own signature blonde sweep of hair.

But how did those blonde locks make it to the UK?

Kemal travelled widely, and on one of his trips to Switzerland, he met and fell in love with Winifred Brun, a Swiss-Brit who he later married in London, where the couple fled to exile years later when Kemal came into conflict with the Committee for Union and Progress.

Brun died giving birth to her second child, Osman Wilfred Kemal.

Kemal later returned from exile to the Ottoman Empire, marrying Sabiha Hanim, with whom he had one son - Zeki Kuneralp, the former Turkish Ambassador to the UK, Spain and Switzerland.

As an outspoken opponent of the CUP, its genocide of the Armenians and its successors the Kemalists, as well as an outspoken proponent of a British protectorate in Turkey, Kemal was again exposed to danger as the nationalist forces gained power.

He was apprehended in 1992 in an attempt to bring him to trial on charges of treason, but was intercepted en route to Ankara and lynched by an army commander aligned with Ataturk.

Growing up in a UK at war with the Ottoman Empire, Kemal's children Selma and Osman took on their maternal grandmother's maiden name Johnson. 

Wilfred Johnson later married Irene Williams, with whom he had a son - Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative politician and father to the current prime minister.