The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the chargé d’affaires of the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Ankara over comments tweeted by the UAE foreign minister regarding the behavior of Ottoman governor and commander Fahreddin Pasha, claiming that he had ransacked Medina during World War I, private news broadcaster NTV reported.
Turkish officials at the ministry reportedly conveyed Turkey’s displeasure about the tweet to Chargé d’affaires and Third Secretary Khaula Ali Khamis Obaid Al Shamsi in place of Ambassador Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, who is said to be on vacation.
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had recently tweeted: “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 […] . The Turks also stole most of the manuscripts of the Mahmudiyah library in the city and sent them to Turkey. These are Erdogan’s ancestors and their history with Arab Muslims.”
In response to Al Nahyan’s retweet, İbrahim Kalın, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tweeted: “It is a shame that @ABZayed, FM of UAE, retweets this propaganda lie that seeks to turn Turks & Arabs against one another, again. It was Fahreddin Pasha who bravely defended Madinah against the British plans then. Is attacking President Erdoğan at all costs the new fashion now?”
“Those miserable people are in such a delirious state that they can say without shame that Erdoğan’s ancestors stole sacred relics from Medina and brought them to Istanbul! That is called protecting a place from intruders, not stealing. Protecting in the name of martyrdom,” Erdoğan said on Wednesday.
Erdoğan also indirectly attacked Al Nahyan, saying: “Fahreddin Pasha was a commander who never eyed even a stone of Medina. He secured all the properties of the people of the city and never strayed from justice.”
“You pitiful person who slanders us: Where were your ancestors while Fahreddin Pasha was defending Medina?” he added.
“It is obvious that the aim of some Arab officials’ hostility toward Turkey is to cover up their own lack of ability and endurance and even their treachery. It is clear that you know nothing about our ancestors, about Erdoğan,” the Turkish president said, stressing the “unifying principle of being a Muslim.”
“[Their] delirium will not limit Turks, Arabs, Kurds and other Muslims. We will never leave the floor to those who slander Muslim unity and solidarity for their own personal interests,” Erdoğan added.
“The officials of some countries who don’t know history or diplomatic courtesy cannot cast a shadow over our brotherhood with the Arab peoples nor our struggle for our God’s consent and our Prophet’s bliss,” he said.
Turkey’s relations with the UAE have been strained due to a recent Gulf crisis in which Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, citing Doha’s support for terrorist groups including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda.
Turkey sided with Qatar and lent its full support including deploying troops to a military base in the Gulf country.