Deputy PM calls on Dutch Turkish, Kurdish groups to calm tensions

Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher has called on representatives of the Turkish-Dutch, Kurdish and Alevi communities in the Netherlands to calm the tensions among the communities caused by events in Turkey.

The Deputy Prime Minister did so during a meeting with various organizations from these three communities at his ministry, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, on Wednesday afternoon. All the organizations agreed that tension on the streets and on social media is increasing.

It was agreed that the organizations will call on their supporters to deal with disagreements and tensions in a calm and controlled manner. The organizations will also keep talking to each other on a local level in an effort to prevent threats, vandalism and other forms of escalation. It was also agreed that the Minister and the organizations would meet on a regular basis to not only discuss social tensions, but also issues such as discrimination and the position of young migrants on the labor market.

The reason for this meeting is the recent incidents between people from the Turkish-Dutch, Kurdish-Dutch and Alevi-Dutch communities due to the developments in Turkey. Similar discussions were also held in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, organized by Mayors Eberhard van der Laan and Ahmed Aboutaleb.

The organizations who attended Wednesday's meeting are the Federation Kurds Netherlands, Hakder, Participation body Turks, Platform INS, Hogiaf, Platform Kurds Netherlands, Foundation Islamic Center Netherlands, Turkish workers union HTIB, and a number of refugee organizations. Milli Gorus and Diyanet did not accept the Deputy Prime Minister's invitation.

During the integration debate in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Thursday, Asscher called the letter sent to Turkish-Dutch citizens from the Turkish president Erdogan's AK-party "totally inappropriate" and "at odds" with freedoms in the Netherlands, NU reports. According to the Minister, the Turkish-Dutch citizens were addressed as Turkish subjects instead of the individuals they are, free to make their own choice on if and how they will vote in the Turkish elections.

In the same debate, VVD parliamentarian Sjoerd Potters accused the Deputy Prime Minister of being too soft towards Salafism, a radical movement within Islam, NOS reports. The VVD parliamentarian stated that Asscher's tone on what Potters describes as a major threat to Dutch society, is too careful and to contemplative. He called on Asscher to come with plans on how to deal with it.