Tunisia’s Ghannouchi points to Turkey example of handling 'coup'

Tunisia’s Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi has labelled the ousting the government of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi as a military coup, while pointing to Turkey as an example to follow in dealing with the putsch.

"Since the moment we heard of the coup, we have taken to the streets and we are trying to observe the Turkish lesson,” state-run Anadolu news agency cited Ghannouchi as saying, in reference to Turkey’s 2016 coup attempt.

Over 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 were injured during the failed putsch of July 15, 2016, which Ankara maintains was orchestrated by Gülen movement, a religious group that follows U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday sacked the prime minister and suspended parliament following violent mass protests nationwide against the government and the biggest party in parliament, the moderate Islamist Ennahda. The protests were sparked by a recent sharp spike in Covid-19 cases, but the country was already facing unrest over economic and social turmoil.

“The Tunisian parliament is in session and we adhere to legitimacy and reject the coup,” Ghannouchi, the leader of the Islamist Ennahda Party, said on Monday, while accusing the media of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of being behind the coup and targeting the Ennahda movement.

Clashes continued in Tunisia on Monday betweensupporters of Saied and rival groups, with the latter accusing the president of staging a coup, BBC reported.

The latest developments pose the greatest challenge yet to the North African country following the revolution of 2011, which triggered the “Arab spring” and ousted an autocracy in favour of democratic rule.

Saied, who took office in 2019 following a campaign against corruption, has rejected accusations of a coup.

Turkish President Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, in a Tweet message, said, "We reject the suspension of the democratic process and people's democratic will in friend and brother Tunisia. We condemn those attempts that have no constitutional legitimacy and people's support. We believe that the Tunisian democracy will come out of this process even stronger."

Communicating Director of the Turkish Presidency, Fahrettin Altun, in a Tweet post, stated that "Turkey always stands with democracy and the people everywhere." Altun also expressed concerned over the events in Tunisia and said Turkey hopes that "Tunisia and maintain that democracy must be restored without delay."

Meanwhile, Washington D.C. based Turkey expert Steven A.Cook, quoting Altun's message, reminded about the serious issues with Turkish democracy and the suffering of people in the country.

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