New Lebanese Prime Minister met Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an unexpected visit to Turkey
The Lebanese prime minister in charge of forming the new government, Saad Hariri, paid an unexpected visit to Turkey on Friday, during which he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Hariri’s mission comes at a time when Lebanon is witnessing various crises, social, economic, and security, aggravated by the difficulty in forming a new executive capable of serving the interests of the Lebanese people.
The Turkish presidential office revealed that the closed-door meeting was held at Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s residence in Istanbul. During the talks, the two parties focused on the modalities to strengthen deep bilateral, political, economic, trade, and cultural relations, in addition to the possibilities of cooperation in regional issues. The same note from Ankara’s presidency added.Hariri’s office affirmed, from his side, that the Prime Minister discussed with the Turkish president the efforts needed to stop the collapse and rebuild Beirut, as soon as the new government will be formed in Lebanon. Saad Hariri is the son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, assassinated in 2005 by a car bomb attack and accused of forming a government in October, nearly a year after he resigned under the weight of an unprecedented popular uprising.
Lebanon, a former French colony, is witnessing an economic crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the repercussions of the explosion of the port of Beirut. The blast killed two hundred people and destroyed parts of the capital on August 4, 2020. Turkey’s presence in the region increased during the era of Erdogan, who is fighting for influence with the European and Gulf countries, primarily France.
The French President Emmanuel Macron visited Lebanon after the explosion at the port of Beirut. He urged the government to provide reforms in various fields. After Macron’s first visit, Turkish President Erdogan accused him of having tried, together with others, to “revive colonial thinking” in Lebanon. On Friday, the Turkish presidency’s statement reiterated “the continuous search for unity and stability of the friendly and fraternal Lebanese people.”