Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called on France to return the archives of the Ottoman period. He reaffirmed on Sunday evening the defence of the national memory file which « cannot be subject to renunciation or bargaining », in the framework of bilateral relations between Algeria and France. In 2017, the Algerian government had announced that 98% of the country’s stolen archives are in France.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said that the opening of archives was « an integral part of national memory », specifying that France should return to Algeria those concerning « the Ottoman period » and « popular insurrections » during colonisation. In the run-up to the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence (5 July 1962), French President Emmanuel Macron has undertaken a series of « symbolic acts » in recent months to « reconcile memories » between the French and Algerians.
Living for centuries under Ottoman administration, Algeria went through a dark period during French colonisation, between 1830 and 1962, i.e. over 130 years. Resisting French oppression, Algeria paid the highest price for its independence in Arab and Islamic geography, with an 8-year struggle in which 1.5 million people lost their lives.
Today, Algeria is reclaiming the archives, especially those from the Ottoman period, looted during the French colonisation. In a report given to the Algerian press, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune stressed that the opening of the archives is « an integral part of the national memory ».
« The defence of the national memory file cannot be renounced or haggled over in the framework of relations between Algeria and France, » he added, while calling on France to return the Ottoman archives.