Turkey not deporting Dutch ambassador after all
The Dutch ambassador and nine others will not have to leave Turkey after they called for an activist to be released. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reneged on his announcement on Monday that the ten Western diplomats would be declared undesirables.
In a speech, he welcomed the statements made by the ambassadors on Monday, in which they said they would continue to abide by diplomatic treaties. In doing so, they emphasized not to interfere in domestic affairs. According to Erdogan, they took a step back "from the slander against our country." They have learned their lesson now, he said. "They will be more careful from now on."
The president thought it was inappropriate that the ten collectively called for the release of Osman Kavala a week ago in a diplomatically unusual move. This philanthropist and human rights fighter has been incarcerated for four years without conviction. The ambassadors had already been summoned last week.
The latest diplomatic row between Turkey and the west seems to have come to an end. But in the Netherlands, MPs are not happy with what they believe is the Dutch ambassador bowing. "Erdogan is barking, and ten countries are pulling back with their tails between their legs," wrote Ruben Brekelmans (VVD) on Twitter. He called it a painful display and a sign of weakness. Kati Piri (PvdA) thinks it is an embarrassing display, and the "world upside down." She wonders whether the Netherlands should save Erdogan's face or whether the Netherlands should stand for Kavala's freedom.
MPs Jasper van Dijk (SP) and Derk Jan Eppink (JA21) are also critical. Van Dijk called it a remarkable turn of the ambassador and wants clarification about what happened "behind the scenes." Eppink spoke of "sluggish politics." According to him, the Netherlands bowed because "Erdogan is barking." He thinks the ambassadors are "fearful."
Reporting by ANP