Istanbul terminates sister city protocol with Rotterdam after Erdoğan’s call
AFP photoThe Istanbul Metropolitan Munipality city council on March 15 unanimously terminated its sister city protocol with the Netherland’s port city Rotterdam, amid an ongoing diplomatic row between the two countries.
The move comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Erdoğan said he ordered Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to end the metropolis’ sister city pact with Rotterdam.
“I told our prime minister last night. I told him that he should urgently inform our Istanbul mayor [Kadir Topbaş] and may he break our sister city agreement with Rotterdam unilaterally, as it is impossible for us to be sister cities with such people,” Erdoğan said a rally in the inner Aegean province of Afyon.
Istanbul and Rotterdam signed the town twinning protocol on June 24, 2005.
Subsequently, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb paid one of his first visits to Istanbul after taking office in 2011.
Istanbul has 40 sister cities in four continents along with the Dutch port city.
The diplomatic row between the two countries was stoked on March 11 when the Netherlands canceled the flight permit for Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for a meeting in the country.
Later in the day, Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was prevented by Dutch police from reaching Turkey’s consulate in Rotterdam after being told not to enter the Netherlands to conduct political campaigning for the April 16 charter referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.
Kaya was subsequently deported to Germany, escorted by the Dutch police, early on March 12.