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17th of January 2018

International



Insult to Turkish war hero spurs feud between Turkey, UAE

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Leaders in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates traded insults on Wednesday after a UAE minister criticized a revered military officer in Turkish history.

Dubai Foreign Minister Shiekh Abdullar Bin Zayad Al Nayshan shared a Twitter comment last weekend accusing former military officer Fahreddin Pasha of crimes during the defense of the Muslim holy city of Medina by the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

"Do you know that in 1916 Turkish Fakhri Pasha committed a crime against the people of the Prophet's City, stole their money and kidnapped them and their passengers on trains to Damascus and Damascus," the tweet read. "The Turks also stole most of the manuscripts of the Mahmudiyah library in the city and sent it to Turkey. These are Erdogan's ancestors and their history with Arab Mulims."

The message is regarded as an insult to Erdogan, who is seen as a defender of Islam and has led the criticism of President Donald Trump's plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is also an affront to Pasha, who is revered in Turkey as a historical figure who attempted to prevent Arab forces from capturing Medina.

The attacking army was supported by T.E. Lawrence, known as "Lawrence of Arabia." Pasha was the Ottoman governor of Medina, which is now a part of Saudi Arabia, from 1916 to 1919. Medina, a holy city where Islamic Prophet Muhammad is buried, was ruled by the Ottoman Empire until their defeat by British and Arab coalition during the war.

Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin accused the UAE of spreading divisive propaganda, calling the tweet a "lie that seeks to turn Turks & Arabs against one another."

Erdogan, without directly mentioning Zayad's name, said during a meeting Wednesday, "Those miserable ones are in such a delirium that they can say without shame that Erdogan's ancestors have stolen the sacred relic from Medina and brought it to Istanbul! That is called protecting this place from intruders, not stealing. Protecting in the name of martyrdom."

Diplomatic ties between Turkey and the UAE have deteriorated since Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates comprising the UAE, supported the 2013 Egyptian coup that brought Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power. Turkey recalled its ambassador from the UAE and left the position vacant until 2016.

An attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 was financed, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, by Abu Dhabi.

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