Context of Tunisia

 

Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia, is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a part of the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. It features the archaeological sites of Carthage dating back to the 9th century BC, as well as the Great Mosque of Kairouan. Known for its ancient architecture, souks and blue coasts, it covers 163,610 km2 (63,170 sq mi), and has a population of 12.1 million. It contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert; much of its remaining territory is arable land. Its 1,300 km (810 mi) of coastline include the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin. Tunisia is home to Africa's northernmost point, Cape Angela; and its capital and largest city is Tunis, which is located on its nor...Read more

 

Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia, is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a part of the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. It features the archaeological sites of Carthage dating back to the 9th century BC, as well as the Great Mosque of Kairouan. Known for its ancient architecture, souks and blue coasts, it covers 163,610 km2 (63,170 sq mi), and has a population of 12.1 million. It contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert; much of its remaining territory is arable land. Its 1,300 km (810 mi) of coastline include the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin. Tunisia is home to Africa's northernmost point, Cape Angela; and its capital and largest city is Tunis, which is located on its northeastern coast, and lends the country its name.

Beginning in early antiquity, Tunisia was inhabited by the indigenous Berbers. Phoenicians began to arrive in the 12th century BC, establishing several settlements, of which Carthage emerged as the most powerful by the 7th century BC. Carthage was a major mercantile empire and a military rival to the Roman Republic until 146 BC, when it was defeated by the Romans who occupied Tunisia for most of the next 800 years. The Romans introduced Christianity and left architectural legacies like the Amphitheatre of El Jem. In the 7th century AD, Arab Muslims conquered all of Tunisia (finally succeeding in 697 after several attempts starting in 647) and settled with their tribes and families, brought Islam and Arab culture to the local inhabitants, and since then Arabs became the majority of the population. Then, in 1546, the Ottoman Empire established control there, holding sway for over 300 years, until 1881, when the French conquered Tunisia. In 1956, Tunisia gained independence as the Tunisian Republic under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba with the help of activists such as Chedly Kallala, Farhat Hached and Salah Ben Youssef. Today, Tunisia's culture and identity are rooted in this centuries-long intersection of different cultures and ethnicities.

In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution, which was triggered by dissatisfaction with the lack of freedom and democracy under the 24-year rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, overthrew his regime and catalyzed the broader Arab Spring movement across the region. Free multiparty parliamentary elections were held shortly thereafter; the country again voted for parliament on 26 October 2014, and for president on 23 November 2014. After the 2022 constitutional referendum, Tunisia became a unitary presidential representative democratic republic. From 2014 to 2020, it was considered the only democratic state in the Arab World, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, and was rated a hybrid regime in the 2021 Index. It is one of the few countries in Africa ranking high in the Human Development Index, with one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent, ranking 129th in GDP per capita income.

The official language of Tunisia is Modern Standard Arabic. The vast majority of Tunisia's population is Arab and Muslim. Vernacular Tunisian Arabic is the most spoken, and French also serves as an administrative and educational language in some contexts, but it has no official status.

Tunisia is well integrated into the international community. It is a member of the United Nations, La Francophonie, the Arab League, the OIC, the African Union, the COMESA, the Non-Aligned Movement, the International Criminal Court, and the Group of 77, among others. It maintains close economic and political relations with some European countries, particularly with France, and Italy, due to their geographical proximity. Tunisia also has an association agreement with the European Union and has attained the status of a major non-NATO ally of the United States.

More about Tunisia

Basic information
  • Currency Tunisian dinar
  • Native name تونس
  • Calling code +216
  • Internet domain .tn
  • Speed limit 50
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 6.59
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 11565204
  • Area 163610
  • Driving side right
History
  •  
    Antiquity

    Farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescent region about 5000 BC, and spread to the Maghreb by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia then were ancestors of today's Berber tribes.

    ...Read more
     
    Antiquity

    Farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescent region about 5000 BC, and spread to the Maghreb by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia then were ancestors of today's Berber tribes.

     
     
    Carthaginian dependencies and protectorates through the Punic Wars .

    It was believed in ancient times that Africa was originally populated by Gaetulians and Libyans, both nomadic peoples. According to the Roman historian Sallust, the demigod Hercules died in Spain and his polyglot eastern army was left to settle the land, with some migrating to Africa. Persians went to the West and intermarried with the Gaetulians and became the Numidians. The Medes settled and were known as Mauri, later Moors.[1]

    The Numidians and Moors belonged to the race from which the Berbers are descended. The translated meaning of Numidian is Nomad and indeed the people were semi-nomadic until the reign of Masinissa of the Massyli tribe.[2][3][4]

    At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes. Its coast was settled by Phoenicians starting as early as the 12th century BC (Bizerte, Utica). The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenicians. Legend says that Dido from Tyre, now in modern-day Lebanon, founded the city in 814 BC, as retold by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from Phoenicia, now present-day Lebanon and adjacent areas.[5]

    After the series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal and Tanit. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet, which was altered in Roman times.

     
     
    Statue of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca

    A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War, one of a series of wars with Rome, nearly crippled the rise of Roman power. From the conclusion of the Second Punic War in 202 BC, Carthage functioned as a client state of the Roman Republic for another 50 years.[6]

    Following the Battle of Carthage which began in 149 BC during the Third Punic War, Carthage was conquered by Rome in 146 BC.[7] Following its conquest, the Romans renamed Carthage to Africa, incorporating it as a province.

    During the Roman period, the area of what is now Tunisia enjoyed a huge development. The economy, mainly during the Empire, boomed: the prosperity of the area depended on agriculture. Called the Granary of the Empire, the area of actual Tunisia and coastal Tripolitania, according to one estimate, produced one million tons of cereals each year, one quarter of which was exported to the Empire. Additional crops included beans, figs, grapes, and other fruits.

     
     
    Ruins of Dougga's World Heritage Site

    By the 2nd century, olive oil rivaled cereals as an export item. In addition to the cultivations and the capture and transporting of exotic wild animals from the western mountains, the principal production and exports included the textiles, marble, wine, timber, livestock, pottery such as African Red Slip, and wool.

    There was even a huge production of mosaics and ceramics, exported mainly to Italy, in the central area of El Djem (where there was the second biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire).

    Berber bishop Donatus Magnus was the founder of a Christian group known as the Donatists.[8] During the 5th and 6th centuries (from 430 to 533 AD), the Germanic Vandals invaded and ruled over a kingdom in Northwest Africa that included present-day Tripoli. The region was easily reconquered in 533–534 AD, during the rule of Emperor Justinian I, by the Eastern Romans led by General Belisarius.[9]

    Middle Ages
     
     
    Uqba ibn Nafi led the Umayyad conquest of Tunisia in the late 7th century

    Sometime between the second half of the 7th century and the early part of the 8th century, Arab Muslim conquest occurred in the region. They founded the first Islamic city in Northwest Africa, Kairouan. It was there in 670 AD that the Mosque of Uqba, or the Great Mosque of Kairouan, was constructed.[10] This mosque is the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the Muslim West with the oldest standing minaret in the world;[11] it is also considered a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture.[12]

    Tunis was taken in 695, re-taken by the Byzantine Eastern Romans in 697, but lost permanently in 698. The transition from a Latin-speaking Christian Berber society to a Muslim and mostly Arabic-speaking society took over 400 years (the equivalent process in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent took 600 years) and resulted in the final disappearance of Christianity and Latin in the 12th or 13th century. The majority of the population were not Muslim until quite late in the 9th century; a vast majority were during the 10th. Also, some Tunisian Christians emigrated; some richer members of society did so after the conquest in 698 and others were welcomed by Norman rulers to Sicily or Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries – the logical destination because of the 1200 year close connection between the two regions.[13]

    The Arab governors of Tunis founded the Aghlabid dynasty, which ruled Tunisia, Tripolitania and eastern Algeria from 800 to 909.[14] Tunisia flourished under Arab rule when extensive systems were constructed to supply towns with water for household use and irrigation that promoted agriculture (especially olive production).[14][15] This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new palace cities such as al-Abbasiya (809) and Raq Adda (877).[14]

    After conquering Cairo, the Fatimids abandoned Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algeria to the local Zirids (972–1148).[16] Zirid Tunisia flourished in many areas: agriculture, industry, trade, and religious and secular learning.[17] Management by the later Zirid emirs was neglectful though, and political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture.[14][18][19]

     
     
    Domes of the Great Mosque of Kairouan. Founded in 670, it dates in its present form largely from the Aghlabid period (9th century). It is the oldest mosque in the Maghreb.

    The depredation of the Tunisian campaigns by the Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize Northwest Africa, sent the region's rural and urban economic life into further decline.[16] Consequently, the region underwent rapid urbanisation as famines depopulated the countryside and industry shifted from agriculture to manufactures.[20] The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.[18][21]

    The main Tunisian cities were conquered by the Normans of Sicily under the Kingdom of Africa in the 12th century, but following the conquest of Tunisia in 1159–1160 by the Almohads the Normans were evacuated to Sicily. Communities of Tunisian Christians would still exist in Nefzaoua up to the 14th century.[22] The Almohads initially ruled over Tunisia through a governor, usually a near relative of the Caliph. Despite the prestige of the new masters, the country was still unruly, with continuous rioting and fighting between the townsfolk and wandering Arabs and Turks, the latter being subjects of the Muslim Armenian adventurer Karakush. Also, Tunisia was occupied by Ayyubids between 1182 and 1183 and again between 1184 and 1187.[23]

    The greatest threat to Almohad rule in Tunisia was the Banu Ghaniya, relatives of the Almoravids, who from their base in Mallorca tried to restore Almoravid rule over the Maghreb. Around 1200 they succeeded in extending their rule over the whole of Tunisia until they were crushed by Almohad troops in 1207. After this success, the Almohads installed Walid Abu Hafs as the governor of Tunisia. Tunisia remained part of the Almohad state, until 1230 when the son of Abu Hafs declared himself independent.

    During the reign of the Hafsid dynasty from their capital Tunis, fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states.[24] In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold.

    Ottoman Tunisia

    In the last years of the Hafsid dynasty, Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the Ottoman Empire.

     
     
    Conquest of Tunis by Charles V and liberation of Christian galley slaves in 1535

    The first Ottoman conquest of Tunis took place in 1534 under the command of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, the younger brother of Oruç Reis, who was the Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Fleet during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. However, it was not until the final Ottoman reconquest of Tunis from Spain in 1574 under Kapudan Pasha Uluç Ali Reis that the Ottomans permanently acquired the former Hafsid Tunisia, retaining it until the French conquest of Tunisia in 1881.

    Initially under Turkish rule from Algiers, soon the Ottoman Porte appointed directly for Tunis a governor called the Pasha supported by janissary forces. Before long, however, Tunisia became in effect an autonomous province, under the local bey. Under its Turkish governors, the beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The Hussein dynasty of beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957.[25] This evolution of status was from time to time challenged without success by Algiers. During this era the governing councils controlling Tunisia remained largely composed of a foreign elite who continued to conduct state business in the Turkish language.

    Attacks on European shipping were made by corsairs, primarily from Algiers, but also from Tunis and Tripoli, yet after a long period of declining raids the growing power of the European states finally forced its termination. Under the Ottoman Empire, the boundaries of Tunisia contracted; it lost territory to the west (Constantine) and to the east (Tripoli).

     
     
    St Louis Cathedral - Carthage - Tunisia - 1899

    The plague epidemics ravaged Tunisia in 1784–1785, 1796–1797 and 1818–1820.[26]

    In the 19th century, the rulers of Tunisia became aware of the ongoing efforts at political and social reform in the Ottoman capital. The Bey of Tunis then, by his own lights but informed by the Turkish example, attempted to effect a modernizing reform of institutions and the economy.[27] Tunisian international debt grew unmanageable. This was the reason or pretext for French forces to establish a protectorate in 1881.

    French Tunisia (1881–1956)
     
     
    British tank moves through Tunis after the city was taken from Axis troops, 8 May 1943

    In 1869, Tunisia declared itself bankrupt and an international financial commission took control over its economy. In 1881, using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into Algeria, the French invaded with an army of about 36,000 and forced the Bey to agree to the terms of the 1881 Treaty of Bardo (Al Qasr as Sa'id).[28] With this treaty, Tunisia was officially made a French protectorate, over the objections of Italy. Under French colonization, European settlements in the country were actively encouraged; the number of French colonists grew from 34,000 in 1906 to 144,000 in 1945. In 1910 there were 105,000 Italians in Tunisia.[29]

    During World War II, French Tunisia was ruled by the collaborationist Vichy government located in Metropolitan France. The antisemitic Statute on Jews enacted by the Vichy government was also implemented in Vichy-controlled Northwest Africa and other overseas French territories. Thus, the persecution, and murder of the Jews from 1940 to 1943 was part of the Holocaust in France.

    From November 1942 until May 1943, Vichy-controlled Tunisia was occupied by Germany. SS Commander Walter Rauff continued to implement the "Final Solution" there. From 1942 to 1943, Tunisia was the scene of the Tunisia Campaign, a series of battles between the Axis and Allied forces. The battle opened with initial success by the German and Italian forces, but the massive supply and numerical superiority of the Allies led to the Axis surrender on 13 May 1943.[30][31] The six-month campaign of Tunisia's liberation from Axis occupation signalled the end of World War II in Africa.

    Struggle for independence (1943-1956) Post-independence (1956–2011)
     
     
    Habib Bourguiba was the first president of Tunisia, from 1957 to 1987

    Tunisia achieved independence from France on 20 March 1956 with Habib Bourguiba as Prime Minister.[32] 20 March is celebrated annually as Tunisian Independence Day.[33] A year later, Tunisia was declared a republic, with Bourguiba as the first President.[34] From independence in 1956 until the 2011 revolution, the government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), formerly Neo Destour and the Socialist Destourian Party, were effectively one. Following a report by Amnesty International, The Guardian called Tunisia "one of the most modern but repressive countries in the Arab world".[35]

    In November 1987, doctors declared Bourguiba unfit to rule[36] and, in a bloodless coup d'état, Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the presidency[34] in accordance with Article 57 of the Tunisian constitution.[37] The anniversary of Ben Ali's succession, 7 November, was celebrated as a national holiday. He was consistently re-elected with enormous majorities every five years (well over 80 percent of the vote), the last being 25 October 2009,[38] until he fled the country amid popular unrest in January 2011.

    Ben Ali and his family were accused of corruption[39] and plundering the country's money. Economic liberalisation provided further opportunities for financial mismanagement,[40] while corrupt members of the Trabelsi family, most notably in the cases of Imed Trabelsi and Belhassen Trabelsi, controlled much of the business sector in the country.[41] The First Lady Leila Ben Ali was described as an "unabashed shopaholic" who used the state airplane to make frequent unofficial trips to Europe's fashion capitals.[42] Tunisia refused a French request for the extradition of two of the President's nephews, from Leila's side, who were accused by the French State prosecutor of having stolen two mega-yachts from a French marina.[43] According to Le Monde, Ben Ali's son-in-law was being primed to eventually take over the country.[44]

    Independent human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, Freedom House, and Protection International, documented that basic human and political rights were not respected.[45][46] The regime obstructed in any way possible the work of local human rights organizations.[47] In 2008, in terms of press freedom, Tunisia was ranked 143rd out of 173.[48]

    Post-revolution (since 2011)
     
     
    Tunis on 14 January 2011 during the Tunisian Revolution

    The Tunisian Revolution[49][50] was an intensive campaign of civil resistance that was precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption,[51] a lack of freedom of speech and other political freedoms[52] and poor living conditions. Labour unions were said to be an integral part of the protests.[53] The protests inspired the Arab Spring, a wave of similar actions throughout the Arab world.

    The catalyst for mass demonstrations was the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, who set himself afire on 17 December 2010 in protest at the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official named Faida Hamdy. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death on 4 January 2011, ultimately leading longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign and flee the country on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power.[54]

    Protests continued for banning of the ruling party and the eviction of all its members from the transitional government formed by Mohammed Ghannouchi. Eventually the new government gave in to the demands. A Tunis court banned the ex-ruling party RCD and confiscated all its resources. A decree by the minister of the interior banned the "political police", special forces which were used to intimidate and persecute political activists.[55]

    On 3 March 2011, the interim president announced that elections to a Constituent Assembly would be held on 24 July 2011.[56] On 9 June 2011, the prime minister announced the election would be postponed until 23 October 2011.[57] International and internal observers declared the vote free and fair. The Ennahda Movement, formerly banned under the Ben Ali regime, came out of the election as the largest party, with 89 seats out of a total of 217.[58] On 12 December 2011, former dissident and veteran human rights activist Moncef Marzouki was elected president.[59]

    In March 2012, Ennahda declared it will not support making sharia the main source of legislation in the new constitution, maintaining the secular nature of the state. Ennahda's stance on the issue was criticized by hardline Islamists, who wanted strict sharia, but was welcomed by secular parties.[60] On 6 February 2013, Chokri Belaid, the leader of the leftist opposition and prominent critic of Ennahda, was assassinated.[61]

    In 2014, President Moncef Marzouki established Tunisia's Truth and Dignity Commission, as a key part of creating a national reconciliation.[62]

    Tunisia was hit by two terror attacks on foreign tourists in 2015, first killing 22 people at the Bardo National Museum, and later killing 38 people at the Sousse beachfront. Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi renewed the state of emergency in October for three more months.[63]

    The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in building a peaceful, pluralistic political order in Tunisia.[64]

    Presidency of Kais Saied (2019-present)

    Tunisia's first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi died in July 2019.[65] Following him, Kais Saied became Tunisia's president after a landslide victory in the 2019 Tunisian presidential elections in October.[66] On 23 October 2019, Kais Saied was sworn in as Tunisia's new President.[67]

    On 25 July 2021, amid ongoing demonstrations concerning government dysfunction and corruption and rises in COVID-19 cases, Kais Saied suspended parliament, dismissed the prime minister and withdrew immunity of parliament members.[68][69] In September 2021, Saied said he would appoint a committee to help draft new constitutional amendments.[70] On 29 September, he named Najla Bouden as the new prime minister and tasked her with forming a cabinet, which was sworn in on 11 October.[71][72]

    On 3 February 2022, Tunisia was voted to the African Union's (AU) Peace and Security Council for the term 2022–2024, according to the Tunisian Foreign Ministry. The poll took place on the fringes of the AU Executive Council's 40th ordinary session, which was held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, according to the ministry.[73]

    In February 2022, Tunisia and the International Monetary Fund are still holding preliminary negotiations in the hopes of securing a multibillion-dollar bailout for an economy beset by recession, public debt, inflation, and unemployment.[74]

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"The Other Side of a Neoliberal Miracle: Economic Reform and Political De-Liberalization in Ben Ali's Tunisia". Mediterranean Politics. 18 (1): 23–41. doi:10.1080/13629395.2012.761475. S2CID 154822868. ^ "Tunisie: comment s'enrichit le clan Ben Ali?" [Tunisia: how did the Ben Ali clan get rich?] (in French). RadicalParty.org. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^ "Caught in the Net: Tunisia's First Lady". Foreign Policy. 13 December 2007. ^ "Ajaccio – Un trafic de yachts entre la France et la Tunisie en procès" (in French). 30 September 2009. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. ^ Florence Beaugé (24 October 2009). "Le parcours fulgurant de Sakhr El-Materi, gendre du président tunisien Ben Ali" [The meteoric career of Sakhr El-Materi, son-in-law of Tunisian President Ben Ali]. Le Monde (in French). Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^ "Tunisia". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^ "Protectionline.org". Protectionline.org. 18 January 2010. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^ "Droits de l'Homme : après le harcèlement, l'asphyxie" [Human rights: after harassment, asphyxiation] (in French). RFI.fr. 16 December 2004. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^ "Dans le monde de l'après-11 septembre, seule la paix protège les libertés". RSF.org. 22 October 2008. Archived from the original on 14 January 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^ Yasmine Ryan (26 January 2011). "How Tunisia's revolution began". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 13 February 2011. ^ "Wikileaks might have triggered Tunis' revolution". Alarabiya. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. ^ Spencer, Richard (13 January 2011). "Tunisia riots: Reform or be overthrown, US tells Arab states amid fresh riots". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2011. ^ Ryan, Yasmine (14 January 2011). "Tunisia's bitter cyberwar". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 16 January 2011. ^ "Trade unions: the revolutionary social network at play in Egypt and Tunisia". Defenddemocracy.org. Retrieved 11 February 2011. ^ Tripp, Charles (2013). The power and the people: paths of resistance in the Middle East. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521809658. OCLC 780063882. ^ "When fleeing Tunisia, don't forget the gold". Korea Times. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2013. ^ "Interim President Announces Election of National Constituent Assembly on July 24". Tunis Afrique Presse. 3 March 2011 – via ProQuest. ^ "Tunisian PM Announces October Date for Elections". BBC Monitoring Middle East. 9 June 2011 – via ProQuest. ^ El Amrani, Issandr; Lindsey, Ursula (8 November 2011). "Tunisia Moves to the Next Stage". Middle East Report. Middle East Research and Information Project. Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2019. ^ Zavis, Alexandra (13 December 2011). "Former dissident sworn in as Tunisia's president". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 December 2011. ^ "Tunisia's constitution will not be based on Sharia: Islamist party". Al Arabiya. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2013. ^ Fleishman, Jeffrey (6 February 2013). "Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid shot dead outside his home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 February 2013. ^ "Tunisia launches Truth and Dignity Commission". UNDP. 9 June 2014. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2016. ^ "The real reason Tunisia renewed its state of emergency". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 2015". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 15 December 2016. ^ "Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi dies aged 92". France 24. 25 July 2019. ^ "Tunisia election: Kais Saied to become president". BBC News. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2021. ^ "Tunisia's new president sworn in after surprise election win". France 24. 23 October 2019. ^ Yee, Vivian (26 July 2021). "Tunisia's Democracy Verges on Dissolution as President Moves to Take Control". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 28 December 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021. ^ "Tunisian president sacks PM, suspends parliament after violent protests". France 24. 25 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021. ^ "Tunisian president moves to cement one-man rule". CNN. Reuters. 23 September 2021. Retrieved 24 September 2021. ^ Amara, Tarek; Mcdowall, Angus (29 September 2021). "Tunisian leader names new PM with little experience at crisis moment". Reuters. Retrieved 13 October 2021. ^ "New Tunisian government sworn in". Anadolu Agency. Tunis. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021. ^ "Tunisia elected member of African Union security council". Xinhua. 4 February 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022. ^ "Tunisia's talks with the IMF: What's at stake?". Al Jazeera. AFP. 18 February 2022. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe Violence

    Tunisia has undergone a revolution and is in a contentious transitional period. While large-scale violence is not occurring, demonstrations do still happen from time to time, and are sometimes violent or broken up brutally. So consult your foreign office to check on current conditions before traveling to Tunisia, and do your best to steer clear of any large demonstrations that may occur while you are there.

    In 2015, Islamist terrorists targeted tourists in Tunisia. In March 24 people were killed at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and in June a terrorist shot dead 39 tourists at a beach and a hotel in Sousse. For a time after the incident the UK government had recommended that its citizens leave Tunisia and not visit for anything other than essential travel. That advice has now been downgraded and the normal tourist coastal areas are considered safe. However, the border areas with Libya and in parts Algeria are still not safe areas.

    Female travelers

    It is apparently not considered rude for a man to stare at a woman's body which should indicate that modesty will attract less attention. Women can expect to be the target of frequent catcalls ("Gazelle" seems to be especially popular). If you travel as part of a couple, stay together as much as possible as the female traveller should not wander around on her own if she doesn't want to be pestered. The pestering usually amounts to nothing more than bizarre words and the occasional touch but it can be extremely persistent and annoying.

    Tunisian women often wear outfits that would normally be seen on the streets of any major world city (tight jeans, slinky top), but they do so while showing traditional modesty by exposing virtually no skin. Arms are covered down to the wrists, collars go to the neck (cleavage is non-existent) and a head scarf may be worn. Western women visiting can minimize attention by selecting clothing that minimizes skin shown. V-necks are fine if another layer with a higher collar is worn underneath.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe Violence

    Tunisia has undergone a revolution and is in a contentious transitional period. While large-scale violence is not occurring, demonstrations do still happen from time to time, and are sometimes violent or broken up brutally. So consult your foreign office to check on current conditions before traveling to Tunisia, and do your best to steer clear of any large demonstrations that may occur while you are there.

    In 2015, Islamist terrorists targeted tourists in Tunisia. In March 24 people were killed at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and in June a terrorist shot dead 39 tourists at a beach and a hotel in Sousse. For a time after the incident the UK government had recommended that its citizens leave Tunisia and not visit for anything other than essential travel. That advice has now been downgraded and the normal tourist coastal areas are considered safe. However, the border areas with Libya and in parts Algeria are still not safe areas.

    Female travelers

    It is apparently not considered rude for a man to stare at a woman's body which should indicate that modesty will attract less attention. Women can expect to be the target of frequent catcalls ("Gazelle" seems to be especially popular). If you travel as part of a couple, stay together as much as possible as the female traveller should not wander around on her own if she doesn't want to be pestered. The pestering usually amounts to nothing more than bizarre words and the occasional touch but it can be extremely persistent and annoying.

    Tunisian women often wear outfits that would normally be seen on the streets of any major world city (tight jeans, slinky top), but they do so while showing traditional modesty by exposing virtually no skin. Arms are covered down to the wrists, collars go to the neck (cleavage is non-existent) and a head scarf may be worn. Western women visiting can minimize attention by selecting clothing that minimizes skin shown. V-necks are fine if another layer with a higher collar is worn underneath.

    Note that in most towns, there are outdoor cafes around squares and on the streets, but they are only for men; even when accompanied by men, women are not welcome. Prices are much cheaper in these cafes than mixed gender cafes and tearooms found in Tunis.

    Money and scams

    Travellers report problems being pestered either to buy something or for other purposes. Persistence is a major complaint. Some say that a refusal often results in a bad reaction, "being hissed at" is one example, but those who have been advised to refuse politely with a smile rarely complain. "Non, Merci" is a very good response, with a smile. This seems to be borne out by the reports of sole female travellers who you would expect to receive the most attention, but who often report the least problems (from an admittedly small sample), perhaps because they are more cautious than accompanied females. It certainly seems to be the case that sole female sea bathers attract a good deal of unwelcome attention (even molestation) until a male friend arrives.

    Theft of belongings, even from hotel rooms and room safes, is widely reported and the usual caveats apply - keep valuables in a secure place (e.g. supervised hotel safe deposit), do not flash too much cash, and keep wallets, purses and other desirable items where pick pockets cannot reach them. A good recommendation is only to carry enough cash for your immediate requirements and only one credit or bank card, provided you can be assured of the security of your reserves. Besides, most of the Automatic Bank-notes distributors are available and foreign credit cards are accepted. You can take cash (in equivalent Tunisian dinars) directly from your bank account with a small extra fee (bank transaction from €1 to €2).

    Theft is also reported at airports. Keep your belongings under your direct supervision all the time.

    When it's time to settle the bill in a Tunisian cafe or restaurant, it's advisable to ensure that you are presented with an actual paper, itemised copy of a bill before handing over any money. Frequently, your waiter will claim to have calculated your total amount due in their heads and this will always be more than you actually owe. Also, check prices on menus before ordering. Some establishments will claim to have no menus, they usually have wall mounted menus. Tunisian workers are extremely low paid (£300 per month approx) and will frequently try and take advantage of tourists without their wits around them.

    Be aware that the export of Tunisian currency is forbidden and searches of wallets and purses can, and do, occur at Tunis airport. If you are found with more than DT20 - 30, you will be invited to return landside to change them. The problem is that this "invitation" will come after you have already been through passport control and handed in your exit card; therefore it is not practical. You will then be invited to hand some or all of your Tunisian money (which in any case cannot be spent in the duty free shops) to the uniformed official. Arguing will get you nowhere and a request for a receipt will be met with an outright refusal. Judging from the way the money is swiftly palmed, you will have almost certainly just paid a bribe.

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