Up to 100 Dutch-Turkish refused right to leave Turkey for alleged ties to Gulen: Report
At least ten, but maybe as many as 100, Turkish-Dutch are currently stuck in Turkey. They are not allowed to leave the country because they are critical about the Erdogan government, NOS reports based on its own sources. The Turkish government is furious about these reports. There are Dutch-Turks who are not allowed to leave the country, but that is because they have ties to the "terrorist" Gulen movement, the Turkish embassy said to the broadcaster.
According to the Turkish embassy, these reports are biased and inaccurate. Claims that Turkey took measures against these people because the criticized the Erdogan government are "absurd", the embassy wrote in a statement. "The reports try to undermine the legitimate measures that Turkey has taken against suspected members of a secret and sinister network responsible for the bloody coup against democracy", the statement reads, according to NOS. "Those suggestions run the risk of legitimizing a terrorist organization."
Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs confirmed that about a "dozen" Dutch-Turks are stuck in Turkey, but there may be more because many people will not want to have it known, he said to BNR. Koenders called it a "serious matter". According to him, the Dutch-Turks are in a "very difficult" position, because Turkey considers them nationals. "I feel it is my duty to stand up for those people", he said. But as they are considered Turkish nationals, the possibilities are limited. Nevertheless, the Minister is "doing everything" he can for them, "so that they can return to the Netherlands."
According to NOS, most of the Dutch-Turks stuck in Turkey are people who went to visit family and are now not allowed to leave. At least one Dutch-Turk has been stuck there for months, the broadcaster reports. A number of them are facing litigation.
Relations between the Netherlands and Turkey have been tense since the Netherlands would not allow Turkish ministers to come campaign for a referendum that would give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. This resulted in Erdogan accusing the Netherlands of fascism, Nazism and mass murder in Srebrenica. He also imposed a number of sanctions against the Netherlands. These did not include economic sanctions, the Netherlands is one of Turkey's biggest investors, but the Turkish government did stop talks with the Dutch government and the Dutch ambassador is no longer welcome in the country.
Dutch-Turks can vote in the Turkish referendum in the Netherlands until Sunday. Turkey will vote on April 16th.