Dutch withdraw Ankara ambassador and refuse to accept new Turkish envoy to The Hague

Dutch withdraw Ankara ambassador and refuse to accept new Turkish envoy to The Hague
General Consulate of the Netherlands in Beyoglu, Istanbul.
By bne IntelliNews February 6, 2018

The Netherlands on February 5 formally withdrew its ambassador to Turkey and said no new Turkish envoy will be accepted in The Hague.

The Dutch diplomat has been barred from entering Turkey for almost a year since a diplomatic row began when the Dutch refused to allow Turkish ministers to campaign among the Turkish diaspora in 2017 in advance of the referendum on adopting an executive presidency. The Netherlands foreign ministry said it had "paused" talks on resolving matters with Turkey. "We have not agreed on how to normalise ties," Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra said in a statement.

The developments will do nothing to get Turkey’s derailed bid to join the European Union back on track, with Brussels having backed off from Ankara amid concerns that Turkey has been sliding towards authoritarianism since an ongoing state of emergency was introduced in the country after the failed coup of July 2016.

After the row over campaigning broke out in March last year, one Turkish minister arrived by car from Germany to attend a rally in Rotterdam in defiance of the ban, but police escorted her out of the country. Angry demonstrations by Dutch-Turkish citizens required the deployment of riot police. Coincidentally, Dutch voters were due to go to the polls for a general election. Prime Minister Mark Rutte cited security concerns for the approach to the planned appearances at rallies.

Turkish ministers were also blocked from appearing at rallies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland among similar disputes and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded angrily, throwing Nazi jibes at the Europeans who banned officials from Ankara.

The Dutch ambassador, who was on holiday at the time of the row with The Netherlands, was banned from returning to Ankara.

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