Dutch FM expresses ‘pride’ for Turkish minorities, brushing off integration row
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders delivers a speech during the 7th Ambassadors Conference in Ankara, on Jan. 6. AFP PhotoThe Netherlands is proud of its Turkish-origin citizens, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has said at a meeting in Ankara, in the wake of escalated tension over the integration of Turkish and Muslim immigrants in the country.
“We are proud of our 400,000 Turkish-Dutch citizens and their contributions to our society,” Koenders said at the 7th Annual Ambassadors’ Conference, held at the Presidential Palace in the late hours of Jan. 6.
He also said the Netherlands was “seriously investigating” incidents of racism, describing the notion as a “curse.”
“Racism is the curse of the international society and discrimination is unacceptable. I assure you, the Netherlands will take action for people who suffer from racism,” Koenders stated.
Last month, Turkish-Dutch relations were strained over Dutch politicians’ concerns over the Turkish community’s integration into local society and attempts to close a number of Turkish associations for being “too focused on promoting Turkish and Islamic identity.”
Officials in Turkey were also infuriated by a report stating that around 80 percent of young Turkish people in the Netherlands support jihadist movements.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement complaining to the Dutch authorities about “aggressive and racist accusations” being made against the Turkish community in the Netherlands, warning that the issue could harm bilateral relations.
For its part, the Netherlands has expressed concern over Ankara’s “interference” in the matter.