Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan started a visit to Lebanon on Wednesday, seeking to emerge as a key mediator in the country. He was greeted at the airport by his Lebanese counterpart, Saad Hariri, AFP reported.
The Turkish premier held closed-door talks with President Michel Sleiman and met parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri."The aim of (Erdogan's) visit was to sign bilateral agreements ... and strengthen quadripartite ties among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon," Sleiman's office said.
Erdogan's trip comes ahead of an anticipated indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is investigating the 2005 bombing that killed ex-PM Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. Erdogan said Ankara would do everything in its power to prevent war in Lebanon, in comments published hours ahead of his visit.
"Should any signs of war surface in Lebanon, God forbid, Turkey and other countries in the region will do everything they can to prevent that war," Erdogan told the Lebanese daily As-Safir on the eve of his two-day visit.
"Today we stand by Lebanon as we always have," he said.