'Worrisome, illegitimate': Turkey condemns ‘coup’ in Tunisia

Several officials denounce suspension of democratic process by President Kais Saied

Seda Sevencan  | 26.07.2021 - Update : 27.07.2021
'Worrisome, illegitimate': Turkey condemns ‘coup’ in Tunisia


Several senior Turkish officials have condemned Tunisia’s president for seizing complete executive power after sacking the prime minister and suspending parliament.

Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed the government of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi late Sunday, froze parliament and assumed the executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister.

In his speech, Saied said he will lift the immunity of all members of parliament and assume the role of public prosecutor. He said he has taken the decision after consulting Mechichi and Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi.

”The suspension of the elected parliament and the dismissal of the government in Tunisia is worrisome. As Turkey, we have always been supporters of the democratic achievements of friendly and brotherly Tunisia,” Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter, adding that Turkey’s support for democratic Tunisia will continue.

"What is happening in Tunisia is worrisome. Decisions prohibiting the elected parliament and MPs from fulfilling their duties is a coup against the constitutional order," Turkey’s parliament speaker said on Twitter.

Mustafa Sentop added: "Military/bureaucratic coup is illegitimate in Tunisia like it is everywhere. People of Tunisia will hold on to constitutional order and the law."

Presidential spokesman also rejected "the suspension of the democratic process and the ignoring of the democratic will of the people in Tunisia."

"We condemn initiatives that lack constitutional legitimacy and public support. We believe that Tunisian democracy will emerge stronger from this process," Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also condemned the move. "Turkey always stands with democracy and the people everywhere. We suffered greatly in the past, when power was not transferred through elections," Altun said on Twitter.

"We are therefore concerned about the most recent developments in Tunisia and maintain that democracy must be restored without delay."

Omer Celik, a spokesperson for Turkey’s Justice and Development (AK) Party, described the current developments in Tunisia as a "coup" targeting political legitimacy in the country.

Celik added that “Turkey stands by the Tunisian people and respects the struggle for democracy,” underlining President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s support for democracy in the country.

Stressing that Turkey is against all coups, Numan Kurtulmus, the party’s deputy chairman, said: “We see that the coup in Tunisia will harm the Tunisian people. As Turkey, we are against this anti-democratic action all the way.”

"The suspension of the parliament and the dismissal of the government in Tunisia are worrisome for law and democracy," Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul also tweeted.

“Described as a coup by the president of the Tunisian parliament; we condemn the attempts to suspend the parliament, dismiss the prime minister, and prevent the speaker of the parliament from entering the parliament by law enforcement officers, which are clearly against the law and the 80th article of the Tunisian Constitution,” Yasin Samli, head of Istanbul No. 2 Bar Association, said on Twitter.

In a separate statement, the bar association said "the president does not have the power to suspend parliamentary activities, even temporarily. Suspension of parliament is clearly against the Tunisian Constitution."

It said that practices such as the prevention of the entry of parliament speaker to the assembly building are "worrisome."

"We hope that the Tunisian people will protect the constitutional order and legal legitimacy," it said, urging the international community to stand against these "coup-like actions."

Tunisia has seen popular protests against both the government and the opposition, with attacks reported on headquarters and buildings of Ghannouchi’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party in several Tunisian provinces.

Since January, the country has been in a political deadlock amid a dispute between Saied and Mechichi over a government reshuffle that the former rejected.

The country is also facing an economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections amid warnings of a possible collapse of the health system.

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