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Dutch-Turkish friendship group dissolved due to row with Netherlands

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Ertuğrul Soysal, head of the Dutch-Turkish friendship group in the Turkish Parliament, has announced the dissolution of the group due to a spat with the Netherlands over its refusal to allow some government officials to hold campaign rallies there for an upcoming referendum in Turkey.

Soysal announced the decision at a news conference in Parliament on Thursday. The move is part of sanctions Turkey has imposed on the Netherlands due to the recent row.

The Turkish government on Monday announced a series of political sanctions against the Netherlands, including halting high-level political discussions between the two countries and closing Turkish airspace to Dutch diplomats. Other sanctions bar the Dutch ambassador entry back into Turkey and advise Parliament to withdraw from the Dutch-Turkish friendship group.

A crisis erupted between Turkey and the Netherlands when the latter 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 takes 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.

Turkey’s relations with Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have been strained over these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold rallies there ahead of the public referendum in Turkey in April.

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on a constitutional reform package that will introduce an executive presidency in the country if approved.

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