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Turkey, Netherlands Agree to Restore Diplomatic Ties After a Year of Estrangement

Turkey and the Netherlands have decided to normalize their diplomatic relations after a year of estrangement created by a row over a Turkish minister’s attempt to rally on the Dutch soil one month ahead of a referendum in April 2017.

The move for the restoration of normal ties came during a phone call between foreign ministers of the two countries, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday. 

“During this telephone conversation, the ministers agreed to normalize diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. To that extent, the ministers agreed to reinstate ambassadors in Ankara and The Hague shortly,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. 

Separately, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told the Dutch Parliament in a letter that ambassadors for both countries would be reinstated. 

The relations went worse when the Dutch authorities block a Turkish minister to campaign on behalf of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a referendum about the presidential system. 

When Minister Fatma Betul Kaya tried to enter Rotterdam on land route from Germany, the Dutch police escorted her back to the German border. Additionally and at the same time, the Dutch government did not allow Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu‘s plane to land in the same city.

The Turkish government reacted in fury and told the Dutch envoy who was on annual leave not to return back to Ankara. Earlier this year, The Hague withdrew its ambassador who was already unable to enter Turkey. 

 Turkey’s apology demand from the Dutch government over the treatment of Minister Kaya presented a remaining obstacle before mending the strained ties. But on Friday, both sides displayed a willingness to bridge differences to reach a rapprochement. 

Cavusoglu told a Turkish television that his Dutch counterpart would soon visit Turkey as part of the normalization of the relations.

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