New Dutch envoy to Turkey vows to play ‘positive role’
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
“I am happy to be here [in Turkey]. This is a very important moment. I hope to play a positive role in Turkey-Netherlands relations,” Marjanne de Kwaasteniet told reporters upon her arrival at Ankara’s Esenboğa airport.
Appointed as ambassador to Turkey on Sept. 7, Kwaasteniet previously served as the Netherlands’ Permanent Representative to NATO.
Relations between the two countries plunged ahead of the April 16, 2017 presidential referendum in Turkey, when Dutch authorities canceled the flight permit of a plane carrying Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on March 11 last year.
The Dutch government also expelled then Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya from Rotterdam, blocking her from addressing the Turkish community in the Netherlands ahead of the referendum.
Moreover, rallies organized by Turks there in favor of constitutional changes to shift Turkey to an executive presidential system faced restrictions from both central and local governments.
Following the tension, Turkey had conveyed its wish for the Dutch ambassador to Ankara “not to return to his post for a while,” and in February, the Dutch Ministry stated it had formally withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, who has been physically barred from the country for almost a year.
However, the two countries had vowed to normalize ties after a year of tension, as Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on July 20 announced that a mutual decision was reached after a conversation with Çavuşoğlu and Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok.
Former Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker and former deputy leader Şaban Dişli was appointed on Sept. 7 as Turkey’s ambassador to The Hague.