NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri said, on Sunday, that "the terrorist attack in Istanbul is actually a message addressed to Turkey's cooperation with Russia in an attempt to stop the bloodshed in Syria."
In an interview to "MTV" Channel this evening, he added "we should be careful, whether in Lebanon or abroad, but we should not be afraid and should not allow anyone to change our way of life".
Asked to comment on the attack, Hariri said: "First, I offer my condolences to the families of the martyrs and I wish all the wounded a speedy recovery. This terrorism in the region, particularly what happened today in Turkey, where victims of various nationalities, including Lebanese, fell, is actually a message addressed to Turkey's cooperation with Russia in an attempt to stop the bloodshed in Syria. It is clear today that stable countries, or those trying to do something for Syria, are targeted. Since the first moments of this terrorist crime, I contacted the security services, and talked with President Michel Aoun. We were trying to find out what is actually happening and who are the Lebanese victims".
He emphasized the necessity for the State and the media to act in a responsible way.
He added: "From the first moment, I spoke to the Turkish Prime Minister to know with whom we must communicate and in which hospitals are the injured, so it took a little time, and we couldn't do otherwise".
Asked if the reaction of the State and government to the attack was appropriate, Hariri replied: "I hope that there will be a better way to deal with this matter. Today, we exerted huge efforts but it is New Year's Day, and perhaps there are parties in the Turkish state who have not seen the names yet. Starting tomorrow, we will prepare a plan to cope with any similar disaster, so there will be a quick response in case something similar happened, God forbid".
Asked what his message to the victims, and to the Lebanese in general, is today, he said: "My message to the victims is to offer them my condolences. To the Lebanese, I say we should be careful, whether in Lebanon or abroad, but we should not be afraid and should not allow anyone to change our way of life. Terrorism's main message is intimidation, and we will fight it with all our strength. To whoever says that this terrorism belongs to Islam, we say that it has nothing to do with Islam. What is happening is a crime, and those who are doing it are killers and we will fight them with everything we have. Therefore, we must support the military and security forces with all we have as a country, because this terror will try to reach us in our country, and we must be ready for it. We have an army doing a great job and you saw the measures of security taken by the army or security forces during New Year's Eve, because we were actually afraid of such incidents in our country. Thank God, nothing happened in Lebanon, but unfortunately the terrorism that took place in Turkey affected us. I see it as a message to Turkey and especially to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is trying in a way to stop the bloodshed in Syria".
Asked if he feared that terrorism will target Lebanon, and what are the precautions taken, Hariri said: "Certainly we fear this, and we are taking pre-emptive action, by the army, internal security forces, army intelligence, Information branch, General security or State security, all these apparels perform their duties and are all fully prepared, and are trying by all means to prevent terrorism from reaching our country. But will we stop our lives? No we will not stop our lives, we will continue, we will try to restore Lebanon as it was. We should know where to invest the State's possibilities. We will deal in this government with all these things in the economic plan and the plan to fight terrorism".