Saturday, 15 December 2018

Netherlands withdraw envoy to Turkey as ties sour

Turkey Netherlands

THE HAGUE: The Netherlands announced it was withdrawing its ambassador from Turkey , and will refuse to allow Ankara to post one in the country as diplomatic ties plunge to new lows.

Relations have deteriorated in the past months, after Dutch officials barred a Turkish minister from attending a rally in Rotterdam on the eve of the March general elections here. Despite recent high-level talks between the two countries, “we have not been able to agree on the way normalisation should take place,” Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra said in a statement.

The Dutch government has therefore “decided to officially withdraw the Netherlands’ ambassador in Ankara, who has not had access to Turkey since March 2017,” the foreign ministry added.

“As long as the Netherlands has no ambassador to Turkey , the Netherlands will also not issue permission for a new Turkish ambassador to take up duties in the Netherlands.”

Relations between the two NATO allies have spiralled to an all-time low after the Netherlands expelled Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kayar in March.

The country had also barred another minister’s plane from landing as both Turkish politicians sought to attend a Rotterdam rally of Dutch-Turkish citizens in favour of last April’s Turkish referendum.

But Betul Sayan Kayar defied the Dutch government ban, arriving by car from Germany to press for the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be extended in the referendum.

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