Turkish president rebukes UAE minister over tweet
ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit back Wednesday at the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister over a social media post that accused “Erdogan’s ancestors” of kidnapping people of Medina in the early 20th century.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan retweeted a post on Twitter this week, in which a user claimed Fahreddin Pasha – Medina governor from 1916 to 1919 – was a thief.
The UAE’s top diplomat shared the tweet by the user called “Ali al-Iraqi” and presenting himself as an Iraqi dentist living in Germany.
“Ali al-Iraqi” said the former Medina governor “committed a crime against the people of Medina by stealing their money, kidnapping them and putting them on trains that took them to Syria and Istanbul”.
The user added: “Those are the ancestors of Erdogan and this is the history that they have with Arab Muslims.”
Erdogan told the minister to “know your place” as he railed against the Twitter user’s claims.
“Now you see unfortunately those near (Medina) unashamedly, relentlessly are making slanderous claims. First, know your place! It means you do not know this country, you do not know Erdogan, you do not know about Erdogan’s ancestors,” he thundered.
Fahreddin Pasha was governor during the siege of Medina (1916-1919).
“When Fahreddin Pasha was protecting Medina, hey you wretched slandering us, where were your ancestors?” Erdogan retorted during a speech in Ankara.
Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said on Tuesday the tweet was a “propaganda lie” and the governor had “bravely defended” Medina against the “British plans”.
Relations between the UAE and Turkey are filled with distrust as Ankara supports Qatar in a six-month crisis with its Gulf neighbours including the UAE, as well as political groups stemming from the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The UAE outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terror” group in 2014.
Since June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut all ties with Qatar, accusing the emirate of supporting Islamist extremists and of being too close to Shiite Iran, Riyadh’s arch-rival.
Turkish pro-government newspapers also routinely allude to UAE involvement in last year’s attempted coup against Erdogan.