July 28, 2016

Dutch MP’s furious about pressure from Turkish ambassador

Parties in the Tweede Kamer – the lower house of Dutch parliament – are furious about statements the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands made pressuring the Dutch government to help hunt down supporters of the Gulen-movement. Numerous parliamentarians expressed their annoyance to NU.nl.

In an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS on Monday, ambassador Sadik Arslan stated that Turkey considers the Gulen-movement a terrorist organization and compared it to Islamic State. He repeatedly stated that Turkey is convinced the movement is behind a recent attempted coup in the country. According to him, there are Gulen-affiliated schools in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands is thus funding education institutions closely linked to an organization with “sinister plans”.

VVD parliamentarian Han Ten Broeke was first to respond. “The chance of extradition of anyone to Turkey is 0,0 and they have themselves to blame”, he said, according to NU.nl. “As long as Turkey ignores the rule of law and can not guarantee normal procedure, we can ignore such requests.” According to him, the “Gulen witch hunt” is not a matter for the Netherlands “What is our business is the arson, massive intimidation and the witch hunt the Dutch-Turks have on their conscience.”

“A ridiculous and inappropriate call that will only stir up tensions in the Netherlands”, D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma had to say. “The Erdogan regime must immediately stop the currently ongoing witch hunt and especially not export it to the Netherlands.”

PvdA parliamentarian Michiel Servaes called Arslan’s statements “inappropriate and unwise”. “The Netherlands loudly opposed the coup, but is quite rightly concerned about Erdogan’s countermeasures, which are putting the rule of law under pressure”, he said. “As far as the situation in the Netherlands is concerned, what we need now is peace and dialogue. And thus no statements that put further pressure on the relationship between Turkish Dutch. Of the Turkish ambassador I therefore expect that he speaks out against polarization instead of continuing to put antagonisms on high alert.”

“Like Turkey itself is so extremely busy. We fight against terrorism with Turkey. There we reach out our hand. But this is a domestic problem in which they already think they know who the perpetrators are”, CDA MP Raymond Knops said, according to the newspaper. “Then they themselves have to come up with the evidence. And they must show that they want to uphold the rule of law.”

Published on NL Times, 26 July 2016, Tuesday