EU and NATO call on Turkey to be calm in row with the Netherlands

Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

The European Union (EU) and NATO have called on Turkey and the Netherlands to be calm in the wake of the eruption of a diplomatic crisis between the two countries due to the later’s refusal to allow two Turkish ministers to hold rallies for a public referendum to be held in Turkey in April 16. As the EU has called on Turkey to avoid making ‘excessive statements,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has  called on Turkey and the Netherlands to remain calm.

“The EU calls on Turkey to refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation. Matters of concern can only be resolved through open and direct communication channels,” wrote Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, from his Twitter account on Monday.

Turkey is an EU candidate.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe  (CoE) Thorbjørn Jagland reacted to growing tensions between Turkey and several other CoE member states and stated on Sunday that: “The situation is now damaging to diplomacy and democracy. We cannot allow it to escalate any further. All Turkish citizens, inside and outside of the country, should have ample opportunity to be informed about the pros and cons of proposed constitutional amendments and to engage in an open, fair and inclusive discussion in the referendum campaign.

Reminding campaign events abroad require close cooperation between the Turkish authorities and their foreign counterparts, Jagland has said that “All sides involved should agree on the modalities of such events through constructive dialogue and with sufficient time to allow for necessary administrative preparations. All public meetings and political campaigns held in Council of Europe member states should be conducted in accordance with national legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has also called on both Turkey and the Netherlands to remain calm. Robust debate is at the heart of our democracies but so is also mutual respect,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Monday in response to a question about the tension between Ankara and The Hague.

Therefore I will encourage all allies to show mutual respect, to be calm and to have a measured approach, to contribute to de-escalate the tensions and defuse tensions and de-escalate the situation.” NATO member states should now concentrate more on questions that unite them than on questions that divide them, he added. Stoltenberg also said NATO’s presence in Turkey was good for Turkey but also good for Europe and the rest of the alliance.

A crisis erupted between Turkey and the Netherlands when The Hague cancelled the flight clearance for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s airplane on Saturday shortly after Çavuşoğlu warned that Turkey would impose “harsh sanctions” on Holland if it were to take such a step. Çavuşoğlu was scheduled to fly to Rotterdam for a campaign rally.

The crisis reached new heights when Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was expelled from the Netherlands on Saturday night after she insisted on going to the residence of the Turkish Consulate General in Rotterdam to make a campaign speech.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced the Netherlands as “Nazi remnants and fascists” after the Dutch government withdrew permission for Çavuşoğlu’s plane to land on Saturday.

Turkey has issued two diplomatic notes to the Netherlands and also demanded a written apology since the crisis erupted, while Turkish government officials are talking about imposing sanctions on the country.

March 13, 2017


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