Dutch govt opposes Turkish deputy PM visit
AMSTERDAM - The Dutch government on Friday expressed opposition to plans by Turkey's deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes to visit The Netherlands to address a gathering marking last year's failed military coup.
"A visit by the Turkish deputy prime minister or any member of the Turkish government is undesirable, given the current situation regarding bilateral relations between our two countries," the cabinet said in a statement.
Dutch daily tabloid Algemeen Dagblad had on Thursday reported that Turkes planned to address a rally in the eastern city of Apeldoorn next week to mark the abortive coup of July 15.
The meeting was organised by the Union of European Turkish Democrats which is affiliated to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK party, the Dutch government said.
"This in principle is not about stopping the meeting... but the decision is a logical step following the incidents in March," said the statement, which also condemned the attempted coup as an "attack on Turkish democratic institutions".
Dutch-Turkish relations hit an all-time low after The Netherlands expelled a Turkish minister on March 11 when she defied a ban on attending a campaign rally among expats ahead of an April referendum which expanded Erdogan's powers.
Another minister's plane was blocked from landing.
Protests erupted in the harbour city of Rotterdam as Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was escorted out of The Netherlands, with riot police eventually moving in to break up the demonstration, using dogs, horses and water cannon.
Relations between the two countries remain frosty with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte telling BNR public radio on Thursday he was still "incredibly angry with Turkey because of the chaos it caused in Rotterdam."
In return, Turkey suspended high-level relations with The Netherlands and blocked its ambassador -- outside the country at the time -- from returning to his post, as it demanded an apology.