(The Reporter) – As Ethiopia moves to solidify its relationship with Turkey and emulate its economical success at home, an Ethiopian member of the diplomatic corps was detained briefly after getting into an accident, allegedly under the influence of alcohol and promising to start a civil war with one of Ethiopia’s strongest allies from the region.
The Reporter has learnt that the unnamed diplomat is Tesfakiros Hailu Gebremariam, who most recently served as Minister Counselor in charge of business and economic diplomacy affairs. He is said to be a veteran diplomat having served in Los Angeles at Ethiopia’s consulate general office and within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Tesfakiros allegedly got into a series of minor accidents, according to Turkish media and attempted to hit and run before the local police appeared on the scene. “I will ignite a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Ethiopia,” he reportedly told the officers and flouted his diplomatic privilege and refused to take a breathalyzer.
He has since been recalled and is to appear before a committee that is expected to examine his conduct and make swift judgment on his conduct.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has summoned an Ethiopian diplomat who was assigned at the Ethiopian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey following his alleged misconduct occurred over the weekend,” a statement from MoFA. “Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD) has ordered the establishment of a committee to make inquiries into the case.”
The pact between Turkey and Ethiopia has flourished in the last decade. Earlier this year, it announced the change-of-ownership of the Turkish schools in Ethiopia, once linked to Fethullah Gulen, a controversial religious leader to the hands of the Government of Turkey to appease the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is known to have made an official visit to Addis Ababa back in 2015.
Ethiopia remains a priority foreign investment destination country for Turkey within the continent, attracting almost half of its foreign direct investment in Africa to Ethiopia. Ethiopia re-opened its embassy in 2006 after a long hiatus and notably, Mulatu Teshome (PhD) was its immediate past ambassador to the nation.
Ethiopian and Turkish airlines both operate daily flight to Istanbul. There are noted Turkish companies operating within Ethiopia, in infrastructure and textile projects, including the Yapi Merkezi railway mega project in Kombolcha.
The Foreign Ministry in Addis Ababa has publicly announced to handle the case with “no tolerance” and take swift disciplinary measures.