Tunisia, protests after parliament suspended

Turkey expresses its “deep concern” about the situation in Tunisia

Tunisia is facing its worst political crisis in 10 years, after president’s decision to dismiss the prime minister and suspend parliament.

Turkey on Monday expressed its “deep concern” about the situation in Tunisia after the president of the Maghreb country, Kais Saied, decided to dismiss the prime minister and suspend the activity of the parliament after a series of protests at national level related to the economic situation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are deeply concerned about the suspension of the activities of the parliament, which represents the will of the people, on July 25, 2021, just as Republic Day is celebrated in Tunisia. The preservation of democratic achievements in Tunisia, which is an example of success in the region in terms of the democratic process carried out according to the expectations of the people, is of great importance for the region as well as for Tunisia,” said a statement disclosed by the Turkish foreign ministry.

The statement concluded by underlining its confidence that democratic legitimacy will be restored as soon as possible in Tunisia in accordance with constitutional legality. The president of the Turkish parliament, Mustafa Şentop, also expressed his concern via Twitter: “What is happening in Tunisia is worrying. The decision to prohibit the elected parliament and the deputies from fulfilling their obligations is a coup against the constitutional order,” he said.

The spokesman for Turkish President Erdoğan’s AKP party, Ömer Çelik, also reacted to the events in Tunisia calling them a “blow to the political legitimacy” of the Tunisian government. Underlining the strong political, economic, cultural and social ties between Turkey and Tunisia, Çelik stressed that the Turkish government stands alongside the Tunisian people and the defence of democracy.

Tunisia faces its worst political crisis since the end of the Ben Ali dictatorship

Tunisia is facing its biggest crisis of the last decade since expresident Ben Ali left the country, after yesterday the country’s president, Kais Saied, dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet and suspended all parliamentary activity, something that has been described by his opponents as a covert coup. There were several clashes this morning between supporters of Saied and the dismissed government.

To justify the measure, Saied invoked the powers that the country’s constitution gives him “in case of imminent danger that threatens the nation” to dismiss Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi – an independent named a year ago by Saied himself – and appoint another prime minister. “The Constitution does not give me the possibility of dissolving it, but it does not prevent me from suspending it,” said referring to the parliament the Tunisian president, who will assume all the powers of the executive.

The decision came after a series of protests throughout the country against the Mechichi government and the majority party in the Tunisian parliament, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, as a result of the worsening of the political and economic crisis that the country is experiencing due to the increase of coronavirus infections. Ankara thus joins the concern expressed by other countries about the situation in Tunisia, precisely when just over a week ago marked the 5th anniversary of the attempted coup in Turkey.