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Algeria trip: Turkey condemns Macron for accusing it of anti-French propaganda

French president warns African youths of 'immense manipulation' by Turkey, Russia and China during visit to Algeria
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune attend a signing ceremony at Algiers airport on 27 August 2022 (AFP)

Turkey has denounced French President Emmanuel Macron after he accused foreign powers, including Ankara, of spreading anti-French propaganda in Africa. 

Speaking during a three-day visit to Algeria, Macron warned African and Algerian youths against "networks" presenting France as an "enemy". 

"There is immense manipulation," he told reporters on Friday.

"Many political Islam activists have an enemy: France. Many of the networks that are covertly pushed - ... by Turkey... by Russia... by China - have an enemy: France."

Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said in a statement: "It is unacceptable that... Macron, who has difficulties in confronting his colonial past in Africa, especially Algeria, tries to get rid of his colonial past by accusing other countries, including our country.

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"We hope that France will reach the maturity to face its colonial past without blaming other countries, including our country, as soon as possible."

Macron's visit to the former French colony was aimed at easing recent diplomatic tensions and mending what he called a "painful" history between the two countries. 

On Saturday, the 44-year-old president and his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, signed a joint declaration committing to a "renewed, concrete and ambitious partnership". 

Rocky relations 

Earlier this year, Algeria marked 60 years of independence following 132 years of French rule that culminated in a brutal war between 1954 and 1962. 

In 2017, Macron described the conflict, which killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians, as a "crime against humanity". 

Why Macron ditched efforts to heal colonial wounds with Algeria
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But last year he caused outrage in the north African country after he was quoted as suggesting that Algerian national identity did not exist prior to French rule, and accused Algerian leaders of rewriting the struggle for independence based on anti-France hatred. 

The remarks led to Algiers closing its airspace to French planes and withdrawing its ambassador for consultations. 

On Thursday, Macron announced that a joint committee with French and Algerian historians would be set up to study the archives on the colonial period. 

Ties with Algeria have become a priority in recent months, following  increased demand for North African gas after the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war and growing migration across the Mediterranean. 

Macron was filmed smiling and waving at crowds in the northwestern city of Oran on Saturday, despite many of those gathered appearing to be insulting him and chanting "One two three, viva l'Algérie". 

The president was in the city visiting Disco Maghreb, a celebrated record shop that found renewed interest this year after French-Algerian producer DJ Snake released a single named after the store. 

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