PARIS (AFP) - Tensions
between France and Algeria have continued to rise following remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on the North African country’s colonial past.
On Thursday, Macron met with the descendants of Algerians at the Elysee Palace who fought on France’s side during Algeria’s war of independence, the French daily Le Monde reported.
“The building of Algeria as a nation is a phenomenon worth watching. Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization? That is the question,” said Macron, according to the report.
“There were previous colonizations. I am fascinated to see Turkey’s ability to make people totally forget the role it played in Algeria and the domination it has exercised, and to explain that we are the only colonizers. It’s great. Algerians believe it,” he reportedly added.
Macron reportedly argued that the “official history of Algeria has been rewritten, not based on truths, but based on hatred against France.”
He said that after it gained independence from France in 1962, Algeria was built on “a memorial rent” maintained by “the politico-military system,” adding the whole problem is presented as France.
Macron said he would like to produce Arabic and Berber publications to counter the “disinformation” and “propaganda” in the Maghreb that is “carried out by the Turks and completely rewrites history.”
The Algerian Presidency issued a statement broadcast on state television condemning the French president’s remarks. “Macron’s remarks are an unacceptable insult to the memory of over 5.63 million martyrs who sacrificed themselves with a valiant resistance against French colonialism [between 1830-1962],” it said.
It said the numerous colonial crimes committed by France are a genocide against the Algerian people and noted that the statements attributed to Macron were not officially denied.
It said Algeria rejects interference in its internal affairs and the Algerian Ambassador to France, Mohamed Antar-Daoud, has been recalled for consultations.
Tensions between the two countries have been growing since France decided to cut the number of visas issued to Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans.
Algerian activists have launched a widespread social media campaign demanding the boycott of French products and expulsion of France’s ambassador from the North African country following recent incendiary remarks by the Elysée Palace occupant.
Algerians took to Twitter and other social media platforms to reflect the extent of the country’s popular resentment of the offensive remarks recently made by French President Emmanuel Macron about Algeria’s ancient history.