Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders has urged Dutch Turks who are being threatened or intimidated following last week’s failed coup to make a formal police complaint.
It is crucial to take threats and intimidation seriously and ensure that those behind the calls to violence cannot get away with it, Koenders said.
Claims by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen was behind last week’s coup attempt have further fueled the tensions between different Turkish groups in the Netherlands, Koenders said in a parliamentary briefing.
Supporters of Gulen have been threatened and there have been calls to boycott businesses owned by his backers, the minister said. The minister also condemned ‘provocative demonstrations in Rotterdam and Deventer’ and calls for a ‘major clean-up’ by pro-Erdogan groups.
‘This is unacceptable,’ the minister said. ‘In a constitutional democracy, everyone is free to express their own opinion. ‘Last weekend journalists were harassed while doing their jobs. This hits both press freedom and freedom of expression, which are fundamental values in our society.’
The Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands has been urged to distance himself from the violence and intimidation, the minister said in his briefing.
Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb earlier this week appealed to the Turkish community in the Netherlands ‘to stay calm’ following the failed military coup.
There are some 500,000 people of Turkish origin in the Netherlands.
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