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Yönetim Kurulu Başkanımız Sayın Edip H. AKTAŞ' ın Hollanda Gazetesinde çıkan mülakatı :


Who will heal the breach with Turkey? – www.nrc.nl by Toon Beemsterboer [6-11-2017]

The conflict between the Netherlands and Turkey continues, in spite of attempts to mediate. --- Ambassador Kees van Rij has still not returned to his post since the diplomatic crisis with Turkey in March. The elections in the Netherlands took place a long time ago, just like the referendum in Turkey about expanding the presidential power. Although electoral considerations played a big role in the escalation of the conflict, there is still no prospect of a solution. Since the beginning of this year, Turkey has no ambassador in The Hague anymore either. Perhaps that can change now that the Netherlands has a new cabinet, because the Turks did not have the feeling the past few months they had a discussion-partner in The Hague, with a caretaker cabinet and a long formation. Moreover, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, was of the PvdA, a party that was decimated in the elections. The Turks thought: why would we do business with him? Attempts were made during the formation to restore the relation between the Netherlands and Turkey, Koenders said in DE TELEGRAAF. But if that resulted in anything? Koenders: “We think it is not our fault. The Turks think differently about that.” That is exactly the problem, thinks Edip Aktas, chairman of the Turkish-Dutch Friendship Association (Tühod) in Ankara. Tühod organizes mainly dinners and conferences, where businessmen exchange business cards. Nevertheless, Aktas speaks from experience. During the crisis, his association played a mediating role, he says. “We organized three meetings at government level in an attempt to restore the relations”, Aktas says in his office in Ankara. “The last was in June. Neither of the countries was willing to take the first step for a meeting, which is why we took the initiative. I first paid a visit to the embassies and the ministries in The Hague and Ankara to hear what the standpoints were.” As a former employee of the Turkish embassy in The Hague (portfolio: finance and customs), Aktas has some experience in diplomacy. After his return to Turkey, he founded Tühod, in which his contacts in The Hague came in handy. The association tries to strengthen the tie between Turkey and the Netherlands. Aktas never expected that these two countries, that several years ago still celebrated 450 years of friendly relations, would clash so hard. “Sometimes there is mention of an unforeseen chain of events”, he says. “The elections in the Netherlands and the referendum in Turkey certainly played a big role in the escalation. Both parties made mistakes. Turkey should not have continued the visit considering the objections the Netherlands had.” But the Netherlands should not have labeled the minister as an undesired guest, he says, “that was the biggest mistake. It would not have been the end of the world if she had delivered a speech for a handful of people in the embassy, would it?” The conflict had especially economic consequences. The number of Dutch tourists in Turkey decreased, the Dutch investments in Turkey decreased, and some import- and export deals were canceled, Aktas says. He also noticed the consequences in his immediate surrounding. Three people left the association, out of anger about the Dutch attitude. A visit to several cities in Anatolia, which Aktas had organized together with Ambassador Van Rij, was also canceled. “A pity. The goal was to look into the economic possibilities in the region. At this moment, the Dutch representation concentrates especially on Izmir, Antalya, Mersin and Adana. Anatolian cities like Tokat, Sivas, Yozgat and Amasia receive much less attention. While many Dutch Turks have their roots there and there is much industriousness.” Since the peak of the crisis took place in the Netherlands, Aktas understands why the Turkish government is of the opinion that the Netherlands should take the first step to solve the crisis. However, he wonders if the new government is of the same opinion. Both parties appear to be willing to find a solution, in which the formula is said to be that Van Rij returns to Ankara and Turkey has a new ambassador in The Hague. However, PM Mark Rutte, who president Erdogan called a Nazi, allegedly feels little to apologize. “The Dutch government does not need to explicitly say sorry”, says Aktas. “It can find a formula to apologize indirectly, which is acceptable for both parties. But I have little faith in it. During my visits to The Hague I did not get the impression one was looking for creative solutions.” The biggest problem is, Aktas thinks, a lack of communication. Dutch organizations that are affiliated to the Gülen-movement play a detrimental role in that, he thinks. “By way of publications, campaigns and talks with public servants and politicians they make Turkey appear in a bad light. That is why we will also set up a Tühod office in the Netherlands. There must be an organization in the Netherlands that tries to explain the Turkish standpoints and mentality.”

The Turkish government blames the Netherlands (just like many other western countries) for a lack of solidarity after the failed coup. While the Turkish population saved the democracy, the Netherlands is especially concerned about the massive cleansings (140.000 people have been dismissed and 60.000 arrested) that followed. The Netherlands fears that president Erdogan is turning Turkey into an autocracy. The referendum that Turkey organized in April about the expansion of the presidential power, was considered in the Netherlands as undermining the Turkish democracy. When Turkish ministers were not allowed to campaign in the Netherlands, Erdogan spoke of “Nazi practices”. Turkey sent a minister as yet, who the Netherlands put across the border with great show of strength. This severely harmed the relations between both countries. The failed coup and the referendum also led to tension in the Turkish community in the Netherlands. Many Turkish Dutch people do not dare to criticize Erdogan out of fear of his supporters. They do not go on holiday or pay family visits in Turkey either because they are afraid of being taken into custody. Dozens of Turkish Dutch people were arrested in Turkey lately because they are allegedly Gülenists or because they were critical about Erdogan.