Turkey's parliament speaker calls for 'rule of law' in Tunisia

The speaker of Turkey's parliament called for the "constitutional order and rule of law" in Tunisia following the president's ouster of his prime minister and the closure of the Tunisian parliament, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Tuesday. 

“Our desire is for the Tunisian people to be governed by their own will, as they deserve, with a government in which the constitutional order and rules of law work,” Mustafa Sentop said during a visit to Azerbaijan.

Sentop disagreed with the arguments used by Tunisia's President Kais Saied. On Sunday, Saied claimed to be acting in accordance with the Tunisian constitution when he declared a state of emergency, sacked Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi as well as several ministers, and closed parliament. 

Tunisians have protested against and in favour of Mechichi, and the Islamist Ennadha Party has called for dialogue with Saied. 

Sentop previously called Saied's seizure of power a "coup" and derided his actions as illegitimate. Other Turkish ministers, including Vice President Fuat Oktay, have criticised the move as well. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not yet issued a direct response but his aide Ibrahim Kalin condemned Saied's actions as lacking constitutional legitimacy. 

Tunisia’s Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, a member of the Ennadha Party, accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of being responsible for Saied's actions and used Turkey as an example of how to respond to a putsch. 

Turkey experienced a failed coup in July 2016 aimed at removing Erdogan from power that was widely rejected by ordinary Turks and members of the political opposition. What followed was a state of emergency that lasted two years and a heavy handed crackdown on political opponents across Turkish society. 

Tunisia is widely considered the only success story of the 2011 Arab Spring which began within its borders. Prior to the fall of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country was considered one of the most anti-democratic regimes in Africa and the Middle East. 

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