Turkey slams Macron for describing Ottoman rule in Algeria as colonialism

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for describing the Ottoman Empire's rule in Algeria as "colonialism," saying it was wrong of him to “drag” Turkey into a debate on France's colonial past in the North African country.

Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu addresses a press meeting in this file photo.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for describing the 300-year rule of the Ottoman Empire as “colonialism,” saying that “such cheap approaches do not benefit anyone in elections." 

Speaking at a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart on Oct. 7, Çavuşoğlu said: "It is extremely wrong to drag Turkey, which does not have a black mark, such as colonialism, in its history, into such debates."

Çavuşoğlu said that France has entered the "election atmosphere" ahead of the 2022 presidential elections and that "Macron uses this way because of the elections."

"However, both in France and in other countries, we have seen that such cheap approaches do not help in the elections either," he added.

"Therefore, instead of such populist approaches, it would be better for him to take steps to gain the trust of his own people."

Çavuşoğu's comments came following Macron's remarks on the North African country’s colonial past.

Macron said last week, “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 last week during a meeting with the descendants of Algerians at the Elysee Palace who fought on France’s side during Algeria’s war of independence.