A Turkish memorial in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, has been demolished by the Houthis, sparking a crisis between Ankara and the Iranian-backed militia.
Video clips showed bulldozers demolishing the Turkish memorial, which is located near the Ministry of Defense complex in Sanaa. The monument was opened in 2011 to commemorate Turkish soldiers who died in Yemen during the Ottoman presence more than a century ago.
For its part, the Houthi militia acknowledged the incident and said that technical defects that the engineers did not notice occurred at the time of construction, according to Hussein Al-Ezzi, the deputy foreign minister in the Houthi government, which is not recognized internationally.
Ezzi said on Twitter regarding the Turkish memorial, “I think it was a purely individual work, and individual actions occur normally in all countries and at every time and place. There were also technical defects that the engineers did not notice at the moment of construction,” adding, “Relationships are always and forever not measured by a stone here or there. Turkey indeed has a long history and beautiful people and is beloved by us.”
The Houthi official’s statements indicate confusion in listing the justifications for the demolition of the Turkish memorial. In another tweet, Ezzi returned to adopting the incident without justification and indicated that no one should be upset with the demolition of this monument, because it is in fact unnecessary and reminds of the negative side of the history of the two brotherly peoples, which is the side of blood, wars and great pains.
Ezzi said that the Turkish monument provokes the feelings of Yemeni families who sacrificed for their country in that era of history, adding, “I suggest better alternatives.”
For its part, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Saturday, March 12, expressing its strong anger at what it described as an attack on the memorial at the cemetery of the Turkish martyrs in Yemen.
“We strongly condemn the treacherous attack carried out by Houthi elements on the memorial at the cemetery of the Turkish martyrs, which caused damage to the cemetery,” the statement added.
The Turkish ministry called for urgent repair of the damage to the Turkish cemetery, in addition to punishing the perpetrators as soon as possible, adding, “What the Houthis have done is a treacherous attack, and there is no doubt that the friendly and brotherly Yemeni people will condemn it.”