Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyild told Al-Mustaqbal Newspaper , on the occasion of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 2 day official visit to Lebanon that Lebanon and Turkey have signed two military cooperation agreements and that the agreements are awaiting approval by the Turkish parliament.
The ambassador said that turkey sees itself responsible for regional stability, and that it advances it through cooperation and good relations with all the countries in the region, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Time for unity
On his part , Erdogan expressed his country’s concern over the situation in Lebanon and vowed that Turkey will do everything in its power to prevent civil war in Lebanon.
“We cannot put aside Israeli attacks on Lebanon,” Erdogan said in remarks published Wednesday by As-Safir newspaper.
Erdogan reminded the Lebanese of the support Turkey has provided for Lebanon during its hardships.
“Now is the time for unity in Lebanon,” he stressed.
Commenting on the CBC report, Erdogan said: “No justice on earth can reach a verdict without depending on evidence reached by the Prosecutor.”
He said, however, that Turkey will “do everything in its power should signs of civil war surface in Lebanon.”
During a press joint conference with his Turkish counterpart , PM Saad Hariri said: We condemn the latest attack in Istanbul and our stance in the region is clear: we want the region to be free of any non-peaceful nuclear program, and that is what I will express to Tehran during my visit.
He thanked Erdogan for his support:
” We thank you for your commitment to the implementation of Resolution 1701 and for standing by Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli aggression.” He said
Commenting on signed trade agreement Hariri said:
“I am pleased to announce the signing of a free trade agreement between Lebanon and Turkey.”
Tension in Lebanon
Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, the Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.
Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Shiite-Sunni strife, others aren’t as worried and see this as a desperate attempt by Hezbollah to intimidate and scare the Lebanese and specially PM Saad Hariri .
The Pro Syrian Al Akhbar newspaper reported last week that Hezbollah has prepared a plan to take over Lebanon when STL issues its indictment for the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun , (a close ally of Hezbollah ) said last Wednesday that Hezbollah might violently respond to an STL indictment that accuses Hezbollah party’s members in Hariri’s assassination.
Another FPM member MP Alain Aoun said on Saturday that the Lebanese must “have reservations about any decision issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).”
According to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp which was published on Sunday, A Lebanese police officer and U.N. investigators unearthed extensive circumstantial evidence implicating Hezbollah movement in the assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri.