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Turkey, Netherlands resume relations after diplomatic row

The Netherlands is home to some 400,000 people of Turkish origin [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 July, 2018

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President Erdogan accused the Dutch of behaving like "fascists" after two Turkish ministers were barred from attending an election rally in 2017.

The Netherlands and Turkey said on Friday they were resuming full diplomatic ties for the first time since Dutch officials barred two Turkish ministers from attending an election rally in March 2017.

In a joint statement, the two countries said their foreign ministers met on the sidelines of last week's NATO summit in Brussels and "agreed to normalise the diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey". 

"To that extend the ministers agreed to reinstate ambassadors in Ankara and The Hague shortly," the statement said.

The Hague withdrew its ambassador to Ankara in February as relations plunged to new lows in a festering dispute that began when the Netherlands expelled Turkey's Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kayar in March 2017.

The country 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 Turkey's April 2017 referendum, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan narrowly won sweeping new powers.

Erdogan at the time accused the Dutch of behaving like "fascists" in their treatment of the Turkish ministers - comments which triggered anger in the Netherlands, occupied by Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The Netherlands is home to some 400,000 people of Turkish origin, and the two countries have had diplomatic relations for some four centuries.

"It's good that Turkey and the Netherlands turned the page together and that we have restored relations," said Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok. 

"The cooperation between the Netherlands and Turkey is essential on a number of issues including the fight against the Islamic State group, the risk of (jihadist) fighters returning from Syria, but also our concerns over the human rights situation in Turkey."

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