Turkey and Netherlands agree to 'normalize diplomatic ties' after sour period

Turkey and Netherlands agree to 'normalize diplomatic ties' after sour period

ANKARA
Turkey and Netherlands agree to normalize diplomatic ties after sour period

Turkey and the Netherlands have agreed to normalize ties, Turkey's foreign ministry said on July 20. The decision was reached in a phone call between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu and his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok, it said.

"During this telephone conversation, the ministers agreed to normalize the diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. To that extent the ministers agreed to reinstate ambassadors in Ankara and The Hague shortly," the ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Blok is set to visit Turkey "soon," Reuters reported on the same day.

"The visit will happen in the second half of this year. We will probably find a slot around late August, September," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said speaking to private broadcaster NTV.

Sour relations since Turkey referendum

Relations between the Netherlands and Turkey have gone especially sour after Dutch authorities canceled the flight permit of a plane carrying Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during last year’s referendum campaign. The Dutch government also expelled Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya from Rotterdam, blocking her from addressing the Turkish community.

For the parliamentary and presidential elections coming up on June 24, Sarajevo became the only campaign stop for the longtime ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as governments in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands said they would not allow rallies for the Turkish elections this time around as well.

Dutch ambassador to Ankara withdrawn

The Dutch Foreign Ministry on Feb. 5 said it had formally withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, who has been physically barred from the country for almost a year, over a dispute that began during March 2017.

The Netherlands may have withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, but the 400-year-old ties “will be fixed one day,” Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra told Dutch lawmakers in The Hague on Feb.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

Pork roast row

Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik on June 6 slammed the Netherlands for granting permission to a group to roast pork in front of a mosque in Rotterdam during iftar (the fast-breaking meal).

“On Thursday, at the time of the breaking of Ramadan fast, members of this fascist organization will hold a barbeque party in front of Rotterdam’s Laleli Mosque of Islamitische Stichting Nederland and they will roast pigs on spits,” Çelik tweeted.

Far-right organization Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of the West (Pegida) previously announced on social media that they will roast pork in front of mosques during this week’s fast breaking hours in the Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, the Hague and Arnhem.

The Municipality of Rotterdam gave permission to Pegida, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Eating pork is forbidden for Muslims.

Granting asylum to Gülen-linked Turkish nationals

The Netherlands has granted asylum to 73 percent of the applications of Turkish suspects linked to the Gülen network, widely accused to have orchestrated the deadly coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a report on Feb. 21 by the BBC’s Turkish service.

A total of 509 asylum applications were made by Turkish nationals to the Dutch government in 2017, the broadcaster reported, citing official records.

According to the Dutch TV station NOS, a majority of those who were granted asylum in Holland were Gülen sympathizers.

Netherlands, Turkey, diplomacy, normalization