Turkey denies supporting anti-government protests in northern Lebanon

Turkey denies supporting anti-government protests in northern Lebanon
2 min read
29 July, 2020
The leader of Lebanon's Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil claimed Turkey was 'stirring sedition' in Lebanon in order to expand its influence in the country's north
Pro-Turkey protests in Beirut in June 2010 [Getty]

Turkey on Tuesday denounced allegations made by Lebanese politicians that it was supporting anti-government protests in northern Lebanon in order to expand its influence in the region.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy called the claims "malicious statements" that said they were "deprived of comprehension" and impossible to take seriously.

Aksoy added that said Turkey strongly supports Lebanon's  unity and integrity, as well as its peace and stability.

"Those who make these allegations are in a position to know very well who sees Lebanon as its backyard and interferes with the internal affairs of this country," Aksoy added.

The statement seems to be in response to claims made in a TV interview, and later in a tweet, by the leader of Lebanon's Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and former foreign minister Gebran Bassil.

Bassil tweeted on Monday that Lebanon's relationship with Turkey is important but implied that Ankara is undertaking "political, financial, and security expansion" in the country and accused it of "sowing sedition".

Local media had reported that Turkish officials allegedly made secret payments to Sunni leaders in northern Lebanon, in what critics say is an attempt by Ankara to gain support and influence along sectarian lines, amid Lebanon's worst economic crisis in decades.

None of these claims have been verified.

Earlier this month, Lebanese prosecutors charged Armenian-Lebanese journalist Neshan Der Haroutiounian with "publicly and directly offending" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after calling him "obnoxious" on his chat show.

The remarks led to some pro-Turkey protests in Beirut.

Lebanese citizens have been protesting nationwide against the government since October, demanding major reforms, including tackling deep-seated corruption.

The country has fallen into a catastrophic economic and financial crisis, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic which has further accelerated poverty and unemployment rates.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected