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DIPLOMACY >Turkish family minister accuses Dutch of ‘savagely violating freedom’

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Turkish Family Affairs and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya has accused the Netherlands of “savagely” violating her delegation’s freedom of expression, assembly and action, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on March 15, Doğan News Agency has reported. 

Kaya was prevented by Dutch police from reaching Turkey’s consulate in Rotterdam on March 11 after being told not to enter the Netherlands to conduct political campaigning for an April 16 charter referendum in Turkey that could usher in an executive presidential system. Kaya was subsequently deported to Germany by Dutch police, early on March 12.

She said special operations officers who surrounded her vehicle were authorized to use deadly force and Turkish citizens waiting to welcome her were attacked by police dogs and horses.       

“On behalf of my country and all women, I strongly condemn this biased, racist and xenophobic treatment,” she said, adding that the world should not “remain silent” to the Dutch government’s actions.      
 
Kaya said she endured “inhumane treatment” from the Netherlands government, in contravention of diplomatic protocols.       

“The Netherlands violated several European and U.N. conventions by restricting the freedom of speech and movement of a woman minister who has diplomatic immunity,” Kaya told the session on the status of women.       

Kaya also condemned a decision by the EU Court of Justice that bans headscarves in workplaces.       

“This decision clearly plays into the hands of extremists,” she said.       

The ban would make it more difficult for Muslim women to be active in social and business circles if they are compelled to choose between their faith and their careers, she added.      

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on March 15 notified the global body of what it said were international law violations committed by the Dutch government.

Amsterdam breached the Vienna Convention on consular and diplomatic relations in its conduct toward Kaya and mission officials, according to the diplomatic note seen by state-run Anadolu Agency.    
    
Diplomatic passports belonging to Kaya and her team were confiscated by police officers that intervened against a Turkish mission vehicle carrying the minister, said the note addressed to the UN Secretary-General.        
The officers then detained her at a police station for 90 minutes before forcibly driving her to the German border, the note added.  
      
Kaya was prevented from making contact to any Turkish mission officials throughout the journey, and consulate personnel were barred from leaving the building to greet her, according to the note.    
    
It said a Turkish chargé d’affaires, a consul general, and two foreign service officers were detained and all their belongings confiscated.        

“These actions are in contravention of diplomatic courtesy as well as the fundamental principles of international customary law,” the Turkish mission wrote.  
      
The mission requested that the note be added to a U.N. General Assembly report on protection of diplomatic missions and distributed to all member states.

March/16/2017

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