Turkey criticizes French president over Algeria remarks
Turkey has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his remarks that described the 300-year rule of the Ottoman Empire as colonialism, saying that this “cheap approach” will not work for him in the upcoming elections.
“We have seen in the past and we see now that these cheap approaches do not bring any benefit in the elections,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba Dmytro in Ukraine on Oct 7. Çavuşoğlu is paying a visit to Ukraine to hold bilateral talks with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Çavuşoğlu’s reaction came after Macron tried to drag Turkey into his quarrel with Algeria about the infamous French rule in the North African country that lasted between 1830 and 1962 and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Algerians.
According to French media, Macron, in an effort to palliate France’s atrocious colonial past, claimed that “there was a colonization before the French colonial rule” in Algeria, alluding to the Ottoman presence in the country between 1514 and 1830.
“The building of Algeria as a nation is a phenomenon worth watching. Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization? That is the question,” Macron said. “There were previous colonizations. I am fascinated to see Turkey’s ability to make people totally forget the role it played in Algeria and the domination it has exercised, and to explain that we are the only colonizers. It’s great. Algerians believe it,” he was quoted as saying.
“It’s so wrong for him to drag Turkey which has no dark stain of colonialism in its past into this discussion,” Çavuşoğlu stated, adding that those who have something to say about Turkey “should say it directly to our face, not behind our back. Just like what our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is doing.”
Çavuşoğlu said Macron should better try to take steps to win the confidence of its people and avoid populist moves ahead of the May 2022 presidential elections in France.
Macron’s words sparked a deep tension between France and Algeria as the latter has closed its airspace to French military planes.