The row over accusations of racism levied by Turkey against the Netherlands continued to simmer on Thursday, with MPs calling for a clear explanation of who said what and about whom.
A spokesman for the Turkish embassy in The Hague told the Volkskrant that the dispute is based on a misunderstanding.
‘The Turkish government is not accusing the Netherlands of racism. The Netherlands is one of our most valued and closest allies,’ the spokesman said.
‘Turkey has never wanted to meddle in Dutch affairs. In its statement, the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs only wanted to express its concern about the image of Turkey in the Netherlands and of the Turkish community.’
The statement, published online on Wednesday, is only aimed at the ‘negative atmosphere in the media’, the spokesman said. ‘We reject accusations that Ankara reaches into the Netherlands. But we are not criticising the Dutch government or Dutch politics.
Christian Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt earlier called on the cabinet to explain exactly what was said and by whom.
Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders had a 30-minute phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart about the claims on Wednesday evening in an effort to diffuse the row .
According to ANP, Koenders said Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had distanced himself from the criticism. ‘Çavuşoğlu underlined the importance of the integration of Turkish Dutch nationals and the importance of learning the language,’ Koenders is quoted as saying. ‘We have decided to meet and discuss our mutual concerns in the near future.’
That meeting is scheduled to take place in January.