Turkey condemns Arab League chief’s remarks

Turkey condemns Arab League chief’s remarks

Turkey condemns Arab League chief’s remarks

Yemeni boys gather at their house destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near the airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, March 31, 2015. AP Photo

Just a day after describing as “unacceptable” remarks from the Arab League head that Turkey was one of the “foreign powers” meddling in Yemen, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has “condemned” the claim, issuing a statement specifically addressing the controversy.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby’s “baseless accusations aim to warp the principled and peaceful policy that Turkey is pursuing in the region,” said the statement issued on April 1.

The Foreign Ministry summoned a representative of the Arab League to Ankara on March 30 and “harshly” said Elaraby’s suggestion was “unacceptable.”

Speaking at a press conference on March 31, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç implicitly said the controversy was a result of deteriorated bilateral relations between Turkey and Egypt, which is Nabil Elaraby’s native country.

Bilgiç said Elaraby’s remarks should not be considered a statement delivered on behalf of the Arab League, but instead be linked to Egypt. Following a summit of Arab leaders on the crisis in Yemen, Elaraby had slammed Turkey, Iran and Israel over “interference.”

When asked at a news conference to explain vague references to “foreign powers” behind the conflicts in different Arab nations, Elaraby said, “I will answer this question directly. There is meddling by some neighbors; Israel on one side, with Turkish and Iranian interference in several countries.”