The Turks of Lebanon: Erdogan's card to restore alleged Ottoman caliphate
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to play with the card “The Turks of Lebanon” to serve as a support for him in achieving the alleged Ottoman caliphate, by sending a research team from the Middle East Center for Strategic Studies, Orsam, Turkey, in early 2019, under the pretext of knowing the Ottoman monuments.
Lebanon came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1516 AD, after the Ottoman Sultan Selim I annexed Bilad al-Sham to the rule of the Ottomans.
After several days of field investigation, which was carried out by the research team for the situation of the Turks in Lebanon, the Center developed a study entitled "The Forgotten Turks ... The Turkish Presence in Lebanon", and the report divided the Turkish component in Lebanon into 8 groups.
Financial support and aid
After the Turkish center published this study, Turkish organizations began seeking to help these groups, and Turkish officials attached special importance to the Turkmen villages in Lebanon.
Top Turkish officials, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited them and the last of those visits was in April 2019, when The Turkish ambassador, Hakan Chakl, visited the Turkmen regions in the Bekaa region in eastern Lebanon.
The assistance that was directed to the Turks in Lebanon varied, between the establishment of associations for the Turks of Lebanon with the support of Turkey, the provision of financial and material support to the regions where the Turks live, and the setting up of camps for Syrian Turkmen refugees in areas with a Turkmen density in Lebanon, especially in the regions of Akkar and Baalbek, in order to provide a social incubator for the Turkmen elements.
The study also stated that a huge aspect of Syrian Turks prefer permanent residence in Lebanon, which will contribute to changing the demographic situation of the Turkish component and the Turkmen in Lebanon.
Lebanon is the most embraced country for the Turks
In 2016, the Middle East Center for Strategic Studies, in cooperation with the Scholarship Authority, conducted new field research on the living conditions of the Turks in Lebanon, stressing at the end of it, that Lebanon is the most embracing country for Turkish elements in the Middle East region.
In this context, the Time Turk news website stated, in a report, that the ruling Development and Justice Party in Turkey began to pay close attention to the Turkish-Lebanese component, after the Orsam Center published the study on the lives of Turks in Lebanon.
The news site stated that Turkey has increased its interest in Lebanon and has tended to strengthen its relations, and this is what makes citizens of Turkish origin feel at ease, given the political, economic and social benefit that occurs to them as a result of these strong ties.
Since Turkey paid great attention to the Turks of Lebanon, and managed to draw close to them, the Turkish President succeeded in attracting the Turkmen to him, and even started participating in important Turkish political events.
In 2018, the Turkmen celebrated in several regions in Lebanon, including the capital Beirut, the victory of Turkish President Erdogan in the presidential elections.
Hundreds of Turks and Lebanese citizens participated in the celebrations in the historical city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, and the town of Shebaa, which is located in the southern side of the border with the Palestinian territories.