President Erdoğan cuts Tunisia trip short after receiving cold shoulder

The last leg of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Africa visit to Tunisia on Tuesday was cut short due to a cold welcome, reports Turkish news site Artı Gerçek.

Erdoğan struck his famous Rabia sign - a hand gesture which has come to be known for symbolizing the Arab Spring in Egypt and is frequently used by the Turkish president - during his visit to Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi reacted to Erdoğan’s hand gesture, saying ‘’Tunus has only one symbol and one flag, it has no other sign. Not Rabia, not anything else.’’

According to the news published with the subtitle “Tunisia In the Age of Democracy”, Erdoğan was less than pleased to be greeted by the country’s foreign minister and not his counterpart upon his arrival on Dec. 26.

“About one or two in the morning, the Presidents or the Prime Ministers may have better things to do,” the Tunisie Numerique (TN) wrote about this welcome protocol.

In the news, it is also stated that Erdoğan’s personal bodyguards were given a hard time at the airport.

The Turkish president's trip, which was planned as a two-day visit, wrapped up after half a day.

Tunisian media, commenting on this, said, ‘’Perhaps presidents or prime ministers have something better to do at one or two in the morning.’’

The TN published a news piece on Dec. 27, titled ‘’Erdoğan left Tunus after half a day which was ‘active’ and ‘disappointing,’’’ in an apparent reference to the Turkish president’s two-day visit being cut short.

The news source went on to say that Erdoğan did not attend a dinner planned in his honor, attended by members of Tunisia’s political parties.

TN newspaper wrote that Erdoğan did not attend to some other projected activities due to his early departure from the country, and s no positive development was expected in Turkey-Tunisia relations.

Another Tunisian online news site,  "Business News," in a news analysis published on Dec. 26 under the title “A Dictator in Tunisia: Erdoğan”, noted that, ‘’Erdoğan was protested by journalists and civil society activists in Tunisia, just as with all of his visits abroad.’’ A significant part of the news report which provides information about Turkey-Tunisia bilateral economic and trade relations is devoted to the violations of law, human rights and press freedom in Turkey.


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