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Ankara Demonizes Hezbollah

Ankara’s tough, religiously nuanced reactions to Shiite Hezbollah only reinforce perceptions of Turkey’s pro-Sunni foreign policies in the Middle East and Syria.
Members of Lebanon's of Hezbollah Shiite movement salute during the funeral of their comrade Saleh Ahmad Sabbagh in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on May 22, 2013. Local media said Sabbagh, the son of a Sunni father and a Shiite mother, who converted to Shiite Islam and joined Hezbollah years ago, was killed in the ongoing battle of Qusayr in the Syrian province of Homs.   AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD ZAYYAT        (Photo credit should read MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)
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The entry of the military forces of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah into open battle alongside the Baath regime to take back the Syrian town of Qusair from the rebels and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's May 25 declaration that “This is our battle” created much indignation in Ankara.

The next day, on May 26, one of the leading figures of the Turkish government, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, lashed out at Hezbollah using religious references. Speaking at a conference called “Problems of the Islamic World and Their Solutions,” organized by a religious foundation in Ankara, he labeled Hezbollah (the "Party of God") as the "Party of Satan."

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