Turkish politician cancels visit to Netherlands after consultation with Dutch diplomats

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Former Turkish minister Fatma Sahin canceled a planned visit to Deventer after consultation with Dutch diplomats. After a diplomatic row sparked by another Turkish Minister's visit to Rotterdam last year, it was decided that this visit "would not be appropriate at this moment", a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said to AD.

Sahin, a prominent member of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK party, was scheduled to speak at a women's-only gathering at the Centrum Mosque in Deventer on Saturday.

This gathering came at an unfortunate time, so close to the municipal elections on March 21st. Almost exactly a year ago, during the weekend before the parliamentary election, a visit by current Turkish Minister of Family Affairs Fatma Kaya to Rotterdam sparked a diplomatic row that is still ongoing. The Dutch government refused her entry to the country to campaign for a referendum that gave Erdogan more power. 

Despite the ongoing tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands, the Turkish authorities informed their Dutch counterparts about Sahin's planned visit. The two countries then consulted on an official level, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs said to AD. "Together we came to the conclusion that this planned visit would not be appropriate at the moment." The spokesperson would not comment further, and would not tell the newspaper whether the Netherlands exerted pressure.

The Ministry spokesperson did emphasize that the Netherlands and Turkey are still in contact, despite the diplomatic row. "The Netherlands continues to talk with Turkey about issues that concern both of us. This includes visits back and forth, but also issues such as safety and migration."