Turkey’s top officials have visited Lebanon’s capital following a massive deadly explosion shaking Beirut this week.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meet with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, August 8, 2020.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meet with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, August 8, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey has offered help Lebanon to rebuild Beirut’s port, which was destroyed by a massive blast in the country's capital.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Saturday that Ankara is ready to help Lebanon rebuild Beirut’s port and nearby buildings, and send ambulance planes to evacuate some of the wounded for treatment in Turkish hospitals.

Oktay spoke to reporters after meeting Lebanese President Michel Aoun. He added that a Turkish search team is working at the port that was destroyed in Tuesday's massive explosion.

Oktay said Turkey has already sent two field hospitals and 400 tonnes of wheat and food products. He added that his government is ready to use the Turkish port of Mersin to receive products that can be later sent to Lebanon in smaller ships.

"Until the port is raised again, our Mersin Port will be open to service to Lebanon," Oktay said.

Large scale trade, customs and storage operations will be at Lebanon's service.

Official meetings

Oktay arrived earlier in the day with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The two men also met with Prime Minister Hassan Diab, and are scheduled to meet with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Other senior officials from the Middle East and Europe have also started arriving in Lebanon in a show of solidarity with Lebanon.

The first to arrive Saturday was Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the chief of the 22-member Arab League, as well as Turkey’s vice president and foreign minister.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office has confirmed that an international aid conference will be organised on Sunday to support Lebanon after the deadly Beirut blast.

READ MORE: Macron is no saviour, he is helping to reinforce the status quo in Lebanon

The videoconference will be co-hosted by France and the United Nations.

US President Donald Trump on Friday said that he would participate in the conference that will also include other international leaders.

READ MORE: Emergency aid from around the world lands in Lebanon

Death toll rising

At least 158 people have died and over 6,000 are injured since Tuesday’s explosion ravaged parts of the Lebanese capital, but the numbers are likely to rise as efforts continue to find missing people.

The tragedy has come at a time when Lebanon experiencing its worst economic crisis, including a dramatic drop in the value of the pound against the dollar.

The official visits come as the country braces for large anti-government protests amid popular anger against Lebanon’s political elite.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies