Holland withdraws ambassador to Turkey

The Hague has officially withdrawn the Dutch Ambassador to Turkey, Cornelis van Rij, after failed attempts to ease diplomatic tensions between the countries, BBC Turkish reported.

Van Rij has not been allowed access to Turkey since March 2017, when the Dutch government refused to allow Turkish politicians to hold diplomatic rallies for Turkish citizens in Holland before the April 2017 presidential referendum.

Turkish politicians, including cabinet ministers, had their attempts to enter Holland to hold rallies for Turkish expatriates sharply rebuffed by the Dutch authorities, leading Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to liken the Dutch to fascists and “Nazi remnants”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands released a statement on Monday, announcing that although talks had been held to normalise bilateral affairs, which had proven inconclusive.

The sticking point proved to be each side’s insistence that they were due an apology by the other, and an unwillingness to back down on this condition, according to Dutch diplomatic sources quoted by the BBC.

As a result, the ministry officially withdrew Van Rij as ambassador, and announced that a new Turkish ambassador would not be permitted to take up duties in the Netherlands.

The Dutch public radio broadcaster NPO described the situation as “unexpected”.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ, however, said that the announcement merely formalised an existing situation, and said that diplomatic ties between the countries had not been cut.