BEIRUT—Thousands of Lebanese-Armenians gathered in Martyrs Square in Beirut on November 25 to protest Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdogan’s official visit to Lebanon. Several dozen Armenian youth briefly clashed with security police during the otherwise peaceful demonstration, as they tore a huge poster welcoming Erdogan.
The gathering was organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Hunchakian, and the Ramgavar parties.
A day earlier, Lebanese-Armenian youth had gathered near the Beirut International Airport, holding placards condemning the violence committed by Turkey both in the past and present. Erdogan left the airport using a different route and avoided the demonstrators.
Armenian parliamentary bloc chairperson Hagop Pakradouni said Lebanese officials were giving Erdogan “more importance than his real role and forgetting that he is the heir of the Ottoman Empire.” In an interview with the local OTV channel, Pakradouni condemned announcements praising Erdogan, saying that the Lebanese public must stay true to its collective memory.
Erdogan lambasted Israel in Beirut. “Does [Israel] think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” Erdogan asked on the final day of his two-day visit to Lebanon. “Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions, and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? We will not be silent, and we will support justice by all means available to us,” he added.