Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş has said that the Dutch cabinet’s reaction to his planned visit to the country is an “intervention to Turkish citizens’ democratic rights.”
“The reaction shown to my visit is an intervention to the democratic rights of our citizens,” Türkeş said on July 7, after the Dutch government declared that Türkeş was not welcome to travel to the Netherlands for a ceremony among Turkish expatriates commemorating the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
A statement by Dutch Foreign Ministry said attendance by Türkeş or other members of Turkey’s government was undesirable “given the current circumstances in the bilateral relations between our land.”
The July 7 decision is a “natural consequence” of events in March, the statement by the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.
Responding to the Dutch move, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Turkish citizens abroad are organizing events to mark July 15 “independent of our bilateral relations” with the countries they are in.
“The statement... is telling in terms of this country’s understanding of democracy”, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said.
Shortly before Dutch national elections in March, the Dutch authorities refused to allow Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya to enter the country to campaign for the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments.
The flight permit for Çavuşoğlu was canceled on March 11, while Rotterdam police barred Kaya’s entrance to the consulate building on the same day.
Kaya traveled to Germany with a police escort late on March 12.