Erdogan: We won’t be silent if Israel attacks Lebanon, Gaza
In Beirut, Turkish PM says Israel cannot “enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children”; Armenians clash with troops in protest of visit.
(jpost.com) Turkey will not stay silent in the event of an Israeli attack on Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Beirut on Thursday, according to an AFP report.
“Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” Erdogan asked on the final day of a two-day visit to Lebanon.
“Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us,” he added.
During the course of his trip, Erdogan met with officials and visited the north and south of the country.
On Thursday in Beirut, hundreds of Lebanese of Armenian descent clashed with army troops during a protest over the Turkish prime minister’s visit.
He was inaugurating a hospital in the southern port city of Sidon as hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital’s Martyrs’ Square.
When demonstrators tore up a large poster of Erdogan and pelted troops with rocks, security responded by beating up a number of them.
There were no reports of major injuries.
Lebanon has 150,000 Armenians, or nearly 4 percent of its population, which harbors deep animosity toward Turks over the 1915 killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians.
On Wednesday, Erdogan attempted to ease tensions in Lebanon over the soon to be released findings of the UN tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Erdogan, during a speech in northern Lebanon, said that if Hizbullah were found guilty of the Hariri assassination, it would impact the entire region.
He suggested that the tribunal delay releasing its findings for another year.