Saturday 01 April 2023

Dutch foreign minister warns Turkey about interference (update)

Bert KoendersForeign minister Bert Koenders said on Friday that he will raise the issue of Turkish interference in Dutch affairs during a visit to Turkey next week.

The minister’s comments follow the emergence of a letter sent by the Turkish consul general to a number of Dutch local authorities advising them how to deal with anti-Ankara demonstrations.

The exact contents of the letter have not been made public, but did encourage Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to demand a meeting with the consul to discuss them.

That meeting was scheduled for Friday but was later cancelled. Turkey also said that the meeting had been its initiative and published a document which it said was the letter at the centre of the dispute.


‘The Netherlands deals with Dutch society and that is nothing to do with the Turkish government,’ Koenders told reporters.

‘We understand the emotions which stem from the terrible attempted coup,’ Koenders said. ‘But let us solve our differences here… We are free to talk about Turkey and they are free to talk about us, but ultimately, this is a question of national responsibility here in the Netherlands.’

Since last month’s failed coup, there have been dozens reports of threats and intimidation among the Dutch Turkish community, large parts of which are loyal to Ankara.

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