Turkish minister may postpone visit, in talks with Dutch government

Photo: Mohammad Hassanzadeh via Wikimedia Commons

Turkey’s foreign affairs minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu will press ahead with a planned visit to the Netherlands but may wait until after the Dutch election on March 15, Dutch media said on Thursday.

Causoglu, who is campaigning in favour of a referendum giving the president greater powers, has said if he can postpone the visit in consultation with his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders, he will do, the Telegraaf reported. Otherwise the visit will go ahead on March 11 as planned.

Earlier, the owner of the location where the rally was due to take place pulled out and Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said that he believes public order could be at risk if the meeting goes ahead elsewhere.

Cavusoglu hopes to win support for a yes vote in the Turkish referendum on amending the constitution to concentrate more power with president Tayyip Erdogan.

Prime minister Mark Rutte has said the visit, planned for just four days before the Dutch general election, is ‘undesirable’. ‘The talks are ongoing,’ Rutte is quoted as saying in the Telegraaf. ‘It is not that we want to stop Turkish politicians in general, but Turkish ministers who want to speak about purely national issues are not wanted.’

The paper points out that the timing is inopportune, given that much of the election campaign revolves around maintaining the Dutch identity. It would also be playing into the hands of Geert Wilders, who held a short demonstration for the press in front of the Turkish embassy on Wednesday.

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