Netherlands will not apologize in political spat with Turkey
The Netherlands will not apologize to Turkey for the actions taken in Rotterdam on Saturday around the arrival of Turkish Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to Het Parool on Wednesday. "The actions taken on Saturday were firm and respectful."
Ruttte's spokesperson responded to reports in Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, in which Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim said that Rutte offered verbal apologies for taking Turkish diplomats into custody at the Turkish consulate on Saturday night. Yildirim claims that Rutte said that taking the diplomats into custody was a mistake. He added that Rutte offered to go out to dinner together and does not want tensions to increase.
According to Rutte's spokesperson, no apologies were made. In the chaos of protests at the consulate, two Turkish diplomats were briefly detained. "This happened because the police were not clear on who they were. When it turned out that they were diplomats, they were immediately released. In his contacts on Saturday night, Prime Minister Rutte told Prime Minister Yildrim that the matter is under investigation. If it turns out that the Netherlands acted contrary to the Vienna Convention in this matter, we regret it", the spokesperson said to Het Parool.
The Netherlands and Turkey are in the midst of a political row. The Netherlands banned two Turkish Ministers, including Kaya, from campaigning in Rotterdam for a Turkish referendum that will, among other things, give president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. Erdogan responded by accusing the Netherlands of Nazism and fascism, imposing a number of sanctions and later accusing the Netherlands of mass murder in Srebrenica in 1995.
Germany and France both expressed their support for the Netherlands in this matter. The presidents of the European Union and European Commission now also spoke out against Turkey, according to Het Parool.
EC president Jean-Claude Juncker called Erdogan's Nazi accusations "a shame". "I will never accept what has been said", he said at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. According to Juncker, Turkey is "distancing themselves from Europe" with the statements about the Netherlands and "does not seem to want to join the EU."
EU president Donald Tusk also expressed his support. "We are in solidarity with the Netherlands", he said. The Polish Tusk gave his statement in Dutch. He recalled that Rotterdam "was destroyed by the Nazis. The city now has a mayor who was born in Morocco. Whoever sees fascism there, is detached from reality. We are Europeans and proud of it."
According to Het Parool, the statements were met by applause in the EU parliament.