Turkey, Netherlands to normalize relations

Turkey and the Netherlands have decided to normalize their bilateral relations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Cavusoglu said he met his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels and discussed the regretful events that took place in March 2017.

Underscoring the need to leave behind issues that block the two countries’ strategic cooperation on a range of issues, Cavusoglu said: “My Dutch counterpart has conveyed a letter to me and affirmed willingness to normalize relations. Upon his letter, I have also spoke to him over the phone and agreed to pave the way for our relations.”

“In this context, we agreed to make a joint statement as a first step. We also agreed to bilaterally reinstate our ambassadors shortly.”

Cavusoglu further noted: “I have also invited my Dutch counterpart to visit Turkey in efforts to determine roadmap that would rerail our relations to its initial state and to reestablish the dialogue and trust between the two countries.”

Recalling that a big Turkish community comprising about 450,000 people are living in the Netherlands, Cavusoglu asserted that Turkey will act accordingly to country’s national interests in its foreign policy.

According to the joint statement, the two ministers affirmed that Turkey and Netherlands have had intensive relations for over four centuries and have been NATO allies for over six decades and enjoy substantial trade and investment ties.

“They [Cavusoglu and Blok] underlined the importance of strategic cooperation between both countries on a range of issues, such as migration, combatting terrorism and fostering economic cooperation. Following this positive meeting at the NATO Summit, both ministers took the initiative to contact one another again,” statement added.

Relations between the two countries plunged ahead of the April 16 presidential referendum in Turkey, when Dutch authorities canceled the flight permit of a plane carrying Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on March 11.

The Dutch government also expelled Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from Rotterdam, blocking her from addressing the Turkish community in the Netherlands ahead of the referendum.

Moreover, rallies organized by Turks there in favor of constitutional changes to shift Turkey to an executive presidential system faced tremendous restrictions from both central and local governments.

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