Netherlands, Turkey restore diplomatic ties

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The Netherlands and Turkey are restoring their mutual diplomatic relations, Minister Stef Blok of Home Affairs reported to the lower house of Dutch parliament on Friday. This means that there will soon be a Turkish ambassador in The Hague, and a Dutch ambassador in Ankara, RTL Nieuws reports.

The relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey has been in a state of diplomatic crisis since March last year, when the Dutch government refused to let Turkish ministers campaign in Rotterdam for a referendum that gave president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. In the diplomatic row that followed, 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. The Netherlands refused to congratulate Erdogan when he won the referendum. Both countries withdrew their ambassadors. Tensions further increased when Dutch parliament recognized the Armenian genocide in February. 

"It is good that Turkey and the Netherlands turn the page together and restore our relations", Blok said on Friday. "That is necessary to speak freely about matters that bind us, but also about subjects on which we disagree." In addition to talks at an official level, Blok himself met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavusoglu over the past months, on the margins of NAT meetings. That helped normalize relations, he said.

Blok emphasized that there are many important issues between the Netherlands and Turkey. "Think of the fight against ISIS, the risk of returning fighters from Syria and consular issues, but also concerns about the rule of law and the human rights situation in Turkey."

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