BEIRUT: Lebanon summoned the Turkish ambassador on Tuesday over a war of words relating to atrocities carried out during the Ottoman empire.
Beirut has been angered by a statement from the Turkish foreign ministry issued in response to a speech by President Michel Aoun, which referred to violence and killing during the Ottoman occupation of what became the state of Lebanon.
Hakan Cakil was ordered to attend the foreign ministry and asked for “clarifications about the statement and for clear correction of the mistake made by the Turkish side, to avoid misunderstanding and in preservation of the special bilateral ties.”
Speaking on Saturday to mark the centennial of the formation of Greater Lebanon, Aoun referred to the “state terror practiced by the Ottomans against the Lebanese, especially during World War I.”
He said there had been “hundreds of thousands of victims between famine, conscription and forced labor, without omitting the gallows through which they wanted to annihilate the spirit of emancipation and rebellion.”
On Sunday, the Turkish foreign ministry issued an angry response, accusing Aoun’s speech of being “baseless and biased.” It also said “terror” had not taken place under Ottoman rule.
The row comes shortly after a visit to Lebanon by the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.