Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons) Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 15:45
Foreign Min. warns Dutch-Turkish against travel in Turkey
Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs is warning Dutch and Dutch-Turkish citizens against visiting Turkey for the time being. The Dutch government can not "guarantee" that they won't get in trouble in the country due to statements made on social media, he said in Parliament on Tuesday, the Volkskrant reports. Koenders was answering questions in Parliament following the arrest of Dutch journalist Ebru Umar for insulting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She has since been released, but is not allowed to leave Turkey. The Minister emphasized that the government is working hard on her release. "We hope that she may soon return home. But I can not say much on the course of the legal process." He called it "nauseating" that Umar's home was broken into while she is stuck in Turkey. "I understand why there is great concern about this in Dutch society", Koenders said. He added that Turkey can forget about joining the European Union if there policy of press freedom does not improve. "Turkey will have to improve its behavior markedly", he said. "We made it clear that freedom of press and freedom of expression are non negotiable and that this behavior is not befitting a candidate for membership of the EU." Echoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, he denied allegations that the government is not working hard enough to get Umar out of Turkey.