Turkey’s business organizations slam Dutch move barring ministers’ visits
ISTANBULRepresentatives from Turkey’s top business organizations have condemned a Dutch move to prevent Turkish ministers from visiting the country, describing the move as “unacceptable” while calling for diplomacy to end the crisis.
“Both parties, Turkey and the Netherlands, need to resolve the recent tensions through diplomatic methods on the basis of their friendship, European values and common interests,” the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) said in a written statement on March 11, after the Netherlands canceled flight clearance for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. “It is a historic responsibility for all politicians to act in prudent, far-sighted and problem-solving manner in a world where democracies are being tested and security risks are on the rise.”
The head of the Union of Chambers and Stock Exchanges (TOBB), Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, said the Dutch move was “unacceptable.”
“I strongly condemn this decision,” he said March 11.
Claiming that there was no excuse to cancel flight clearance for the foreign minister of Turkey, a member of the Council of Europe and NATO and a candidate for the EU membership, he said: “I am calling on Dutch circles with common sense to act. They must uphold EU values. The Netherlands is one of the founders of the EU … Tension will do no good,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu.
Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) President Ömer Cihad Vardan said the Dutch move was inconsistent with the democratic values on which the EU was founded.
“We have seen some unlawful and irrational practices by some European countries against our ministers. As the representatives of Turkey’s business community, we cannot understand why. It is impossible to understand why flight clearance was not offered to our foreign minister. This move obviously contradicts with the democratic values on which the EU was established,” he said in a statement on March 11.
Noting that more than 400,000 Turkish live and work in the Netherlands and that bilateral ties between the two countries dated back four centuries, he said: “The recent move, unfortunately, clashed with the deep friendship between Turkey and the Netherlands…It is impossible to accept what was done against us.”
The head of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM), Mehmet Büyükekşi, said the Dutch move was undemocratic and created a lose-lose game.
“We believe that the Dutch attitude will bring no good to the interests of the two countries. We hope that the Netherlands will reverse this inappropriate move and move in accordance with what being a friend with democratic values requires,” he added.
After Çavuşoğlu’s flight clearance was canceled, Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya attempted to go by road, but she was stopped by Dutch police, who then escorted her back to Germany.
Kaya claimed she witnessed “inhumane treatment” from Dutch authorities after being barred from entering Turkey’s consulate in Rotterdam and deported to Germany.
Trade between the Netherlands and Turkey has tripled over the past 10 years, and the Netherlands is one of Turkey’s main investors. Many Dutch companies have a branch in Turkey, particularly in sectors such as foodstuffs, energy and technology.
Each year, some 1.2 million Dutch tourists visit Turkey.
In 2012, the countries celebrated 400 years of diplomatic ties.