has rejected as “undesirable” a visit by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes to attend an event commemorating the July 2016 failed 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 Dutch government said in a statement on Friday.
Ankara has said it plans commemoration events in some European cities that have a large ethnic Turkish diaspora.
Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the military declared that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge of the country.
A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.
Since then, Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups who were believed to have played a role in the failed putsch. Over 50,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 others sacked or suspended from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups.
Relations between Turkey and Netherlands have deteriorated since March after Dutch authorities banned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and the country’s Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from campaigning among expatriates for Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum extending Erdogan’s power.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party chairman, delivers a speech during the AK Party’s provincial meeting in Ankara, July 1, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The ban infuriated Ankara and triggered a mounting tension between the two sides, with Erdogan calling the Dutch authorities “fascists” and “remnants of Nazis”.
The Friday statement said the recent decision is a “natural consequence” of events in March.
Ankara slammed the Dutch decision with Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu saying, “The statement… is telling in terms of this country’s understanding of democracy.”