The head of the Turkey-Tunisia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group on Monday condemned Tunisian President Kais Saied’s decision to dismiss the government and suspend parliament as a “coup” against the country’s constitution.

Cihan Pektas sent a letter to his Tunisian counterpart Hatem Karoui on the recent incidents in Tunisia.

On Sunday, Saied ousted the government of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, froze parliament and assumed executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister.

“We condemn initiatives that lack constitutional legitimacy and popular support. We hope that this initiative, which ignores the will of the people, will be returned as soon as possible,” Pektas wrote.

“The Tunisian people will protect the constitutional order, democracy and law,” he stressed.

Pektas noted that the suspension of the elected parliament was a coup against the constitutional order.

“As Turkey and the Turkish Grand National Assembly, we are always and everywhere on the side of democracy and the elected parliament, and we are always on the side of the brotherly Tunisian people,” he added.

In a televised speech Sunday, Saied said he will suspend the immunity of all members of parliament and take control of the general prosecutor’s office. He claimed that he had taken the decisions after consulting with Mechichi and Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi.

Ghannouchi, for his part, described Saied’s moves as nothing but a “full-fledged coup” against the Tunisian constitution, revolution and freedoms in the country.

Tunisia has been gripped by a deep crisis since Jan. 16, when Mechichi announced a cabinet reshuffle but Saied refused to hold a ceremony to swear in the new ministers. The country also faces an unprecedented spread of COVID-19 strains in most states.

Tunisia is seen as the only country that succeeded in carrying out a democratic transition among a group of Arab countries that witnessed popular revolutions which toppled their ruling regimes, including Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

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