|Tuesday, June 09, 2009|
|Turk observers praise ‘peaceful’ election day|
|By Cagil Kasapoglu
Special to The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Officials from the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry were among the 200 international observers visiting Lebanon to oversee elections held on Sunday. The Turkish monitors were dispatched to three key districts during the polls – Beirut III, Jbeil and Baabda – and visited over 30 centers and polling stations to observe the functioning of the process.
“Elections were held in a very peaceful environment,” said Murat Omeroglu, First Secretary of the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“Despite some security issues caused by the high number of voters in polls, there was not any serious disruptions in districts we visited,” he said.
“Lebanon, comprised of different religious and ethnic groups, demonstrated how successfully it can contribute to national politics by fulfilling basic democratic needs,” he added.
“Our role here was to monitor the elections in Lebanon and provide any sort of assistance to keep peace and political stability for the country,” said Ceyhun Erciyes, the ministry’s deputy director-general for the Middle East region.
“We believe that if the expenses for security can be reduced to a minimum and instead the same economic sources would be used for the welfare of Lebanese people, there will be a significant economic development observed,” he added.
“We are proud to see how Lebanese voters are conscious about their country’s future and how passionate they are in determining their destiny” Erciyes said.
The Turkish Embassy in Lebanon organizes and sponsors an array of cultural, social and economic events in Beirut.
“Turkey stands at the same distance from different groups here in Lebanon and as the Turkish Embassy, we are providing a significant humanitarian assistance in all parts of the country,” said Zeynep Ersahin, first secretary of the embassy.
In May, Turkey invested $20 million into a project to establish a trauma and rehabilitation center in the coastal city of Sidon. The facility “will not only provide high quality medical assistance but will also employ hundreds of people in this field,” Ersahin said.