Money spoiled you: Erdoğan slams UAE FM in Ottoman Pasha row
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan is “spoiled with money and petrol,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in retaliation to the minister accusing Ottoman-era commander Fahreddin Pasha of “ransacking” Medina during the First World War.
“This man is spoiled with petrol, and spoiled with money. While my ancestors were busy defending Medina, you impudent man, what were your ancestors doing? You should account for this first,” Erdoğan said on Dec. 21.
Turkish officials have been on the offensive since Dec. 16, when al-Zayed retweeted a Twitter post accusing Fahreddin Pasha of “stealing the goods of the people of Medina,” and “embezzling handwritten manuscript artefacts by allowing their removal to Istanbul via Damascus” during the Siege of Medina in 1916.
“These are Erdoğan’s ancestors and their history with Arab Muslims,” the post added.
Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın delivered the first response came on Dec. 19, when he criticized al-Nahyan for redistributing “propaganda lies that seek to turn Turks and Arabs against one another.”
During the First World War, Medina came under siege in 1916 after Mecca’s Sharif Hussain revolted against the Ottoman Empire, to side with British forces.
Fahreddin Pasha was the Ottoman commander who defended the city against Sharif Hussain’s forces until Abdullah I of Jordan entered Medina in 1919.
“If we did not know about Fahreddin Pasha’s role in Medina’s defense, any impertinent fool could be so vulgar, so vile and so extravagant as to say ‘Erdoğan’s ancestors are like that.’ But they are the real thieves,” he said.
He stated that during the siege Fahreddin Pasha transferred the sacred relics to Istanbul to “protect them against the British occupation.”
“These sacred relics remain in Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace, where people read the Koran 24 hours a day,” Erdoğan said.
“Such disrespectful people would not know what these relics mean. They are simply ignorant,” he added.
Diplomatic ties between the UAE and Turkey tumbled after Abu Dhabi supported Egyptian General el-Sisi’s government, which grabbed power in 2013 with a coup d’état that deposed Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first elected president and a key Turkish ally.
Foreign Ministry summons charge d'affaires
Turkey’s foreign ministry on Dec. 21 summoned the charge d’affaires of the United Arab Emirates (UAE to Ankara after the country’s foreign minister accused Ottoman governor and commander Fahreddin Pasha of “ransacking” Medina in 1916 during the First World War, private broadcaster NTV has reported.
Foreign Ministry officials have reportedly conveyed Ankara’s displeasure over UAE foreign minister’s remarks on the pasha to the charge d’affaires.