Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is courting Salafist leaders in northern Lebanon and the Islamic Group and the Muslim Brotherhood in other parts of the country to gain influence in it.
He does the same with Lebanese nationals with Turkish origins and Lebanon’s Turkmens.
Most of these Turks and Turkmens settled in Lebanon after leaving Turkey or parts of Syria.
Turkey deals with these people as Turkish subjects. It also works to win over Shiite tribes in Beqaa.
Turkey offers a wide range of aid to these segments of the Lebanese society. It helps them establish their own organizations. It offers them financial support. It establishes refugee camps for Syrian Turkmens in areas where there are large numbers of them.
The Turkish charity Sadakatasi plays an important role in implementing Turkish plans in Lebanon. In June 2016, this charity offered aid to Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Mount Lebanon Governorate. In October 2015, the charity founded the al-Aqsa School for Palestinian refugee children inside one of the largest Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut.
The Unite Lebanon Youth Project also plays a similar role. The project is headed by Malak al-Nimr, a Turkish social worker.
The project was founded with the aim of offering help to Palestinian refugee children who excel in their schools. It then helps these pupils join well-reputed universities around the world.
The fact is that Ankara works to turn children into defenders of its own culture. During the opening of the al-Aqsa School, Palestinian children raised the Turkish flags. They chanted slogans in support of Turkey and thanked Erdogan.
In March 2010, the Lebanese-Turkish Friendship Society was lauched in the southern Lebanese province of Saida. The society was launched in the presence of the Turkish ambassador in Lebanon.
This society is one of many others that work to strengthen Turkish influence in Lebanon.