Sunday 15 September 2019

Turkey says Dutch Turks blocked from travel are Gülenists

Turkey and the Netherlands flag designs

Turkey has reacted angrily to media reports that Dutch Turks who are critical of Turkish President Erdoğan’s government have been banned from leaving that country, reports NOS on Friday.

The Turkish Embassy in the Hague has said that people have been prevented from returning home to the Netherlands only if they have ties with the ‘terrorist’ Gülen movement.

On Thursday night, the NOS reported that between 10 and 100 people of dual nationality have been banned from leaving Turkey. Many had been on holiday or visiting relatives, and some reportedly had German and Swiss nationality.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that ‘around 10’ Dutch Turkish people are in this situation and said they are talking with the Turkish government about letting them return home.

But in a written reaction, the Turkish government said the NOS reports were biased and inaccurate, saying it was ‘absurd’ that people would have been blocked from travel for criticising Erdoğan.

‘The reports try to undermine legitimate measures that Turkey has taken against suspected members of a secret and sinister network responsible for the bloody coup against democracy [attempted in Turkey last year],’ says the statement. ‘Such suggestions run the risk of legitimising a terror organisation.

But foreign minister Bert Koenders has said that he will apply maximum political and consular pressure so the stranded Dutch Turks can return to the Netherlands.

Tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands flamed last month when Rotterdam refused to allow Turkish ministers to campaign for the referendum in their country, sparking a war of words in which Erdoğan accused the Dutch of “Nazism” and “behaving like a banana republic.”

Last year, Dutch-Turkish columnist Ebru Umar was temporarily blocked from leaving Turkey for tweets deemed critical of the Turkish president.

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