Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has criticized French President Emmanuel Macron over his description of Ottoman rule in Algeria as colonialism, calling on him to speak to Turkey directly and not through the media.
“If Macron has something to say to us, we would prefer him to speak directly to us and not behind our back. Just like our president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, does,” said Çavuşoğlu.
His remarks came during a news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba, in the Ukrainian city of Lviv on Thursday where he travelled for bilateral talks.
“I am fascinated to see the ability that Turkey has to make Algeria completely forget the role it played in the country and the domination it exerted,” French daily Le Monde cited Macron as saying last Sunday.
Macron’s remarks were interpreted as an attempt to understate France’s colonial past in Algeria and say that the Ottoman presence in the country between 1514 and 1830 was also a period of colonization.
Çavuşoğlu accused Macron of resorting to “cheap” and “populist” methods ahead of the presidential election in France next year in a bid to attract votes. He said it was wrong for Macron to drag Turkey, “which has no black stain of colonization in its history,” into such debates.
Macron’s comments also sparked tension between France and Algeria as the latter has closed its airspace to French military planes.