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Screenshot of President Macron on Algerian television. Images from the Algerian war. Photo supplied

Erdogan tries to re-ignite war between Algiers and Paris

The day after his official visit to Algeria, Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed some sensitive remarks by the Algerian president.

Published: February 4, 2020, 8:20 am

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    As a competitor of France on the African continent, Ankara thus seeked to recall French crimes in Africa, estimated the press.

    Barely back in Turkey after a state visit to Algeria, Turkish President Erdogan seemed to be trying to sow disorder in the already complicated Franco-Algerian relations.

    Algerian leader Abdelmajid Tebboune told him that “the French had massacred more than 5 million Algerians in 130 years,” he said.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims to have asked for documents proving the crimes of French colonization to share them with French President Emmanuel Macron who “is certainly not aware of it,” reported the Algerian newspaper Al-Chorouk. The daily newspaper in Algeria is published from Saturday to Thursday in a tabloid format and is the second-largest daily Arabophone newspaper.

    The subject is clearly so sensitive that the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has argued that these confidences “were taken out of context”. Algiers and Paris have so far failed to mend bilateral relations, as the two nations are still unable to overcome their “painful” past, which includes a 132 long years of French colonialism.

    Tebboune, who won Algerian presidential election in the first round, noted that “I’m extremely sensitive when it comes to national sovereignty,” adding “Algeria is a pivotal country in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Arab world and our international relations are based on the principle of reciprocity, as we do not accept dictations from any country, nor do we accept interfering in Algeria’s domestic affairs.”

    For him, bilateral relations with France can only be mended only when Paris recognizes the “crimes” committed during its colonial era, and offer an apology to the victims of that “brutal” colonialism rule.

    Thus, returning from Israel recently, the French president indulged in one of his favorite exercises, a memorial exegesis on the history of France in Algeria, a subject whose history he mastered only through the prism of his prejudices – this time by establishing a parallel between the Holocaust and the war in Algeria.

    This is not the first time that Macron has apologized for colonialism on behalf of the French. The remarks made by Emmanuel Macron on colonization during an interview with an Algerian channel when he was presidential candidate, clearly had not impressed the new Algerian leader either.

    Macron described French colonization as a “crime against humanity” in 2017. “This is real barbarism,” he said, adding that “we must face it and also apologize to those towards whom we have committed these acts”.

    Macron commemorated the outbreak of the revolution against France, marked by a series of attacks by the FLN on November 1, last year, by sending his “most sincere wishes” … to the Algerians.

    On this All Saints Day for Catholics, the French President preferred to celebrate the Algerian revolution. This day, which marks the start of the “war of independence” against France, is also called “All Saints Red”, because of the bloody attacks committed by the FLN (National Liberation Front) against the French in 1954.

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