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Turkey, Netherlands agree to normalize ties, reinstate ambassadors

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Turkey and the Netherlands agreed to normalize ties during a phone call between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, the Hürriyet Daily News reported on Friday, citing a ministry statement.

“During this telephone conversation, the ministers agreed to normalize the diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. To that extent the ministers agreed to reinstate ambassadors in Ankara and The Hague shortly,” the statement said.

Blok is set to visit Turkey “soon,” Reuters reported on the same day.

“The visit will happen in the second half of this year. We will probably find a slot around late August, September,” Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster NTV.

Relations between the Netherlands and Turkey had gone especially sour after Dutch authorities canceled the landing permit of a plane carrying Çavuşoğlu during a referendum campaign last year. The Dutch government also expelled Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya from the country after barring her from attending a rally with the Turkish community in Rotterdam.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry on Feb. 5 said it had formally withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, who has been physically barred from the country for almost a year, over a dispute that began in March 2017.

The Netherlands may have withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, but the 400-year-old ties “will be fixed one day,” then-Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra told Dutch lawmakers in The Hague on Feb. 7 amid the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik on June 6 slammed the Netherlands for granting permission to a group to roast pork in front of a mosque in Rotterdam during a fast-breaking meal in Ramadan.

Far-right organization Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of the West (Pegida) previously announced on social media that they would roast pork in front of mosques during the week’s fast breaking hours in the Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, The Hague and Arnhem.

The Municipality of Rotterdam gave permission to Pegida, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Eating pork is forbidden for Muslims.

The Netherlands has granted asylum to 73 percent of the applications of Turkish suspects linked to the Gülen movement, accused to have orchestrated a deadly coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a report on Feb. 21 by the BBC Turkish service.

A total of 509 asylum applications were made by Turkish nationals to the Dutch government in 2017, the broadcaster reported, citing official records.

According to Dutch TV station NOS, a majority of those who were granted asylum in Holland were Gülen sympathizers.

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