August 30, 2016

Dutch FM critical of how Turkey handled attempted coup

Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs criticized the way in which Turkey reacted to a failed coup in the country in July during his visit to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Monday. According to the Dutch minister, there should be limits to how far the Turkish government is willing to go.

“It is understandable that Turkey takes action against coup plotters, but this should never be a reason to throw the rule of law and democracy overboard”, Koenders said.

He expressed his concerns about how the attempted coup increased tension between Turkish groups in the Netherlands. “Violence and intimidation, against anyone whatsoever, is unacceptable on Dutch soil”, he said. “Moreover, I continue to stress that what happens in Dutch society is a matter for the Netherlands. Foreign governments have no input on that.”

Finally Koenders criticized the debate on the reintroduction of the death penalty in Turkey. “I emphasized that the death penalty is under no circumstances compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights and with European values. Especially for a country that wants to become a member of the European Union.”

The Dutch Minister also stressed the importance of continuing diplomatic discussions. “Turkey is a NATO partner and ally in tackling the immigration crisis and the fight against terrorism. There are many issues in which we have common interest. It is therefore important to maintain a close dialogue with the country.”

Published on NL Times, 29 August 2016, Monday