Turkey Summons Lebanon’s Envoy to Ankara
By Staff, Agencies
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Lebanon’s ambassador to Ankara, Ghassan al-Moallem, Thursday after a banner was placed on the door of the Turkish Embassy in Rabieh.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency said a group of eight to 10 people affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement hung a banner of the Turkish flag and a skull “with an intimidating message” on the embassy’s entrance earlier Thursday. Ankara conveyed concerns to Lebanon’s envoy regarding the security of the Turkish delegation, the agency said.
A sentence written on the corner of the banner said, “You too, go home,” using a phrase Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said in a speech last month in a warning to “Israelis” near Lebanon’s southern border.
Quoting an anonymous diplomatic source, Anadolu Agency said Turkey called on Lebanon to take necessary measures “without any delay” to protect the embassy.
Relations between Turkey and Lebanon have strained following a speech by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who founded the FPM, in which he spoke of violence and killing during the Ottoman occupation of modern-day Lebanon.
Aoun had recalled the “state terror practiced by the Ottomans against the Lebanese, especially during World War I,” during a speech on Saturday celebrating the upcoming centennial of the formation Greater Lebanon.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned Aoun’s speech, saying his statements were “baseless and biased.” The ministry denied the use of state terror by the Ottoman Empire in Lebanon.
“This extremely unfortunate and irresponsible statement by President Aoun made only a week after the visit of Mevlut Cavusoglu, foreign affairs minister, to Lebanon, does not comply with the friendly relations between the two countries,” the ministry’s statement said.
Following the statement, Turkey’s ambassador to Lebanon was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, and was asked for “clarification on [the Turkish foreign ministry’s] statement and a clear correction of the error from the Turkish side, in order to avoid misunderstandings,” a statement from the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said.