A recent trip by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Syria to visit an Ottoman tomb has sparked criticism from Damascus.
“Davutoglu’s infiltration into Syrian territory without the permission of the Syrian government constitutes a clear aggression against a sovereign UN member state and a violation of international law,” Syria’s official SANA news agency reported on Sunday.
On May 10, the Turkish premier paid a visit to the tomb of Suleyman Shah (Süleyman Şah Türbesi), the grandfather of Osman I (Osman Gazi), the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
The trip, which was not announced in advance, is reportedly the first such visit by a Turkish political leader to the tomb, which is considered Turkish property based on an accord signed between Turkey and France back in 1921.
Images released following the visit, show Davutoglu paying homage to Turkish soldiers stationed there.
The tomb used to be deep inside the Syrian territory before being relocated in February to another area in the Aleppo province about 200 meters away from the Turkish border.
The relocation was carried out by Turkish soldiers during an incursion into Syria. Damascus slammed the Turkish army’s operation in the Syrian soil as an act of “flagrant aggression.”
Ankara has time and again been accused of supporting the so-called Free Syrian Army and ISIL Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria, which has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011.
Erdogan party’s campaign ahead of election
According to SANA, Davutoglu’s Sunday visit to the Suleyman Shah tomb came in the “framework of election campaign propaganda” by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the upcoming election.
The premier’s visit coincided with a rally by thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Germany, where he gave a speech ahead of the country’s June 7 parliamentary election.
Turkish President Erdogan delivers a speech to supporters in the German western city of Karlsruhe, May 10, 2015.
During the speech in Germany’s western city of Karlsruhe to a crowd of over 14,000 people, Erdogan urged his countrymen residing abroad to participate in the election, saying, “The ballot box is your weapon.”
Some 1.4 million Turks living in Germany are reportedly eligible to vote.