Turkey can claim Netherlands violated international law: Univ. Amsterdam professor

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Turkish flag (Photo: Bahar/Wikimedia Commons). Turkish flag (Photo: Bahar/Wikimedia Commons)

The Netherlands was using a "rough remedy" when it decided to deny two Turkish Ministers access to the country, according to International Law and Politics professor Geert-Jan Knoops. If Turkey decides to take legal action against the Netherlands, the Netherlands may well lose the case and be punished for violating international law, the University of Amsterdam professor said to BNR.

According to Knoops, the main issue is to what extentwas necessary for protecting public order. A convention on diplomatic relations from 1961 gives a country the right to deny access to the head of a diplomatic mission. But it is a "kill or cure remedy" that is only used in extreme cases, he said. "Then you must think of diplomats who are guilty of espionage and such serious matter. To my knowledge that article has never been applied in a situation like this, where a political speech was avoided that was deemed undesirable by the host country."

Knoops adds that the same convention states that diplomats have immunity and must have freedom of movement and access to embassies. 

"The undesirable statement is actually only allowed in five situations", Knoops explained to the broadcaster. "One situation may apply here: if someone poses a concrete danger to public order or national security. The question is, of course, whether you can claim this if a Minister wants to speak to her followers from a consulate. Minister Asscher [Social Affairs] says it would have caused a mess here. That of course is very doubtful. If you speak to a group of a few hundred people from a consulate, it is very questionable whether the public order and national security would be at risk."

"I think in short that the Netherlands has taken a considerable risk under international law, that if Turkey makes a case about this - Turkey could, for example, take the case to the International Court of Justice for breach of the international convention of 1961 - there is a chance that Turkey will be vindicated", Knoops said to the broadcaster. 

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