Netherlands withdraws ambassador to Turkey due to 2017 row

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The Dutch Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that it had formally withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, who has been physically barred from the country for almost a year, over a dispute that began in March 2017.

The Netherlands will also not accept the appointment of a new Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands.

In a statement the ministry said it has “paused” talks with Turkey on resolving the matter.

The crisis erupted between Ankara and The Hague last March when the latter cancelled the flight clearance for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s airplane shortly after Çavuşoğlu warned that Turkey would impose “harsh sanctions” on the Netherlands if it were to take such a step.

Çavuşoğlu was scheduled to fly to Rotterdam for a campaign rally for a public referendum last April.

The crisis escalated when Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was expelled from the Netherlands after she insisted on going to the residence of the Turkish Consulate General in Rotterdam.

Back then, the Turkish government 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 barred the Dutch ambassador’s entry back into Turkey, and a Dutch-Turkish friendship group in the Turkish Parliament was dissolved.

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