400-year-old Netherlands-Turkey ties to be fixed one day: Dutch FM

400-year-old Netherlands-Turkey ties to be fixed one day: Dutch FM

THE HAGUE
400-year-old Netherlands-Turkey ties to be fixed one day: Dutch FM

The Netherlands may have withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, but the 400-year-old ties “will be fixed one day,” Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra told Dutch lawmakers in The Hague on Feb. 7, amid a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

“The 400-year-old ties will be fixed one day. We have withdrawn our ambassador but our relations will remain at the charge d’affaires level,” the minister said.

“We will maintain our ties in joint tasks and in trade. We have not had an ambassador in Turkey for a while now, and not much should change after this,” the minister added.

The relations would continue on some level, though the two countries are unlikely to come to terms with the shattered ties, Zijlstra said, adding that the Netherlands was not expecting an apology from Turkey in this regard.

“We are expecting to take simultaneous steps [with Turkey]. We did not come to a consensus on this [issue] and we suspended the negotiations,” the minister said.

The Netherlands and Turkey have suspended negotiations for the normalization of bilateral relations, with the former on Feb. 5 officially announcing the withdrawal of its Ankara ambassador, who has already been absent for more than 10 months since tensions erupted between the two countries last year.

The Dutch government also announced that it would not allow the Turkish ambassador to return to his office in The Hague on the same day, following failed talks between the two countries.

In the talks, the Netherlands reportedly refused Turkey’s demand for an apology to Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya for not allowing her to enter the Turkish consulate and extraditing her after a police intervention last year.

This does not mean a suspension of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Amsterdam, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said on Feb. 5.

“The Netherlands has not had an ambassador in Ankara for the past year. They have announced they will officially withdraw a non-existent ambassador,” Bozdağ told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

“This is not a new event for us. It is a declaration that is known. However, diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey have not been suspended,” he said, adding that relations remain at the charge d’affaires level.

Relations between Turkey and the Netherlands soured ahead of a major referendum in Turkey on shifting to an executive presidential system when Dutch authorities canceled the flight permit of a plane carrying Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The Dutch government’s expulsion of Sayan Kaya from Rotterdam and blocking her from addressing the Turkish community in the Netherlands before the April 2017 referendum did not help to improve the already blazing row.

Netherlands, Holland, fix