Tunisia accuses Turkey's President Erdogan of interference

The Turkish president has called dissolving of Tunisia's parliament 'smearing of democracy'

Tunisian President Kais Saied (R) arrives with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a joint press conference at the presidential palace in Carthage, east of the capital Tunis, on December 25, 2019. / AFP / FETHI BELAID

Tunisia said on Tuesday that comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about a decree by the north African country's president to dissolve parliament marked "an unacceptable interference" in internal affairs.

"Tunisia affirms its keenness on close relations with friendly countries but adheres to the independence of its decision and rejects interference in its sovereignty," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi, said on Twitter on Wednesday that he also talked to his Turkish counterpart by telephone and summoned the Turkish ambassador to Tunisia to express his country's rejection of President Erdogan's comments.

On Monday, Mr Erdogan called the dissolving of Tunisia's parliament a "smearing of democracy" and a blow to the will of the Tunisian people.

He said he hoped developments in Tunisia would not damage the country's efforts to create democratic legitimacy or derail an election timeline.

"Democracy is a system that is the embodiment of the respect between the elected and appointed. We see the developments in Tunisia as a smearing of democracy," he said.

"Dissolving parliament where there are elected officials is thought-provoking for the future of Tunisia and is a blow to the will of the people."

More than half the members of Tunisia's parliament held an online session to revoke President Kais Saied's decrees last week.

Mr Saied suspended parliament July in a move his opponents call a coup. He then said he would not hold early elections.

Mr Erdogan had urged Mr Saied to allow parliament to continue its work in August.

Turkey has in recent years sought increased influence across Africa, providing military equipment, training and personnel to several countries, while also signing agreements for projects on the continent. It is also among the central actors in the Libyan conflict.

Updated: April 06, 2022, 6:59 AM