Archive for Netherlands
Turkey has suspended high-level diplomatic ties with the Netherlands and the Dutch ambassador to Ankara will not be allowed to return from leave, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said. The Dutch government’s conduct “is unacceptable by any standards”, he said. The move comes amid tensions after Amsterdam deported a Turkish minister and banned another. On Saturday, the Dutch government cancelled the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight permit to the Netherlands. It then then blocked a convoy carrying Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya and forced her to leave the country under police escort. When Turkish citizens in Rotterdam peacefully protested these developments, they were met by police using batons, dogs and water cannons, in what some analysts called a disproportionate use of force. The events have drawn strong criticism from the Turkish government, which, earlier Monday, sent diplomatic notes to the Netherlands in protest.
The Dutch embassy and consulate in Turkey have been closed off for security reasons, Reuters reported citing Turkish foreign ministry. A mass rally took place outside the consulate in Istanbul after Turkish Foreign Minister was refused landing in the Netherlands. The residences of the Dutch ambassador, charge d’affaires and consul general were also closed off, according to the same source. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said earlier in a statement that Ankara did not want “the Dutch ambassador, currently on leave, to return to his post for some time.” “It has been explained to our counterparts that this grave decision taken against Turkey and the Dutch Turkish community will cause serious problems diplomatically, politically, economically and in other areas,” the statement said, as cited by Reuters. The move follows the Dutch government barring Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam. Initially, Cavusoglu was to speak at a rally organized by Ankara to promote the referendum on amending the Turkish constitution among Turks living in the Netherlands. The withdrawal of permission for Cavusoglu to land was condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who lashed out at Dutch officials, calling them “Nazi remnants, fascists.” Just hours before the shutdown of Dutch diplomatic buildings, another top Turkish official, Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was blocked from entering a Turkish consulate in Rotterdam by Dutch police. The move has triggered mass protests of Turkish community members outside the building.
A Venezuelan former intelligence chief who had been arrested in Aruba on US drugs charges has been freed. Hugo Carvajal was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Dutch foreign minister. Carvajal was freed late Sunday after being arrested last week in Aruba, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as he arrived to serve as Venezuela’s consul general on the Caribbean island. He was detained at the request of US prosecutors, who want to try him over alleged drug crimes and helping Colombia’s Marxist FARC guerrillas. Carvajal served as military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, from 2004-2011. At the time of his arrest, Carvajal’s diplomatic status had led to confusion as to whether he was entitled to immunity from prosecution. Aruban authorities had argued that did not have immunity because he had yet to be accredited by the Netherlands. That was cleared up at a press conference in Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, late on Sunday, when it was announced that Carvajal did indeed have immunity. However, it was also announced that the Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, had declared the retired general ‘persona non grata’ – a term used by governments to remove diplomats. “The fact is that Mr. Carvajal was granted diplomatic immunity, but is also considered persona non grata,” said Aruban Justice Minister Arthur Dowers. Dowers said Carvajal was arrested because he had arrived on a diplomatic passport but had not yet been accredited by the Dutch authorities to serve as a diplomat on the island. Officials decided to act on the US detention request because of an international treaty between Washington and the Netherlands. US officials were “very disappointed” with the decision to free Carvajal, Aruban Justice Minister Dowers said.
People in the District hit the streets to mourn the 298 lives lost in Thursday’s deadly plane crash in the Ukraine. A candlelight vigil and march from the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Malaysia Embassy paid tribute to each innocent life cut short. The march was a silent, solemn walk of remembrance. Through candles and flowers, mourners found a way to honor the 298 individuals who perished aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Ukrainians turned out at the Dutch embassy in Kiev to pay tribute to the hundreds of people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. A somber crowd of mourners presented wreaths and messages outside the embassy. One took the moment to make a political statement with a sign that read: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a terrorist.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ordered all Dutch flags to fly at half-mast following the tragedy. “The whole of the Netherlands is in mourning,” Rutte said. Coming just months after Flight MH370 disappeared on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, this is the second loss for Malaysia Airlines in a year. Reports differ on the number of passengers on board the plane. Reuters has reported that 295 people on board the plane have been killed while Associated Press has put the number at 298.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom and The Netherlands have summoned the Sudanese ambassadors regarding Khartoum’s death sentence against a Sudanese woman, accused of ‘apostasy’ under Article 126 of the Sudanese Criminal Law. “Freedom of religion and belief is a universal human right,” the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, said. “Sudan has its own constitution, and signed a UN convention, in which this is enshrined.” The Foreign Secretary in the UK also summoned the Chargé d’Affaires at the Sudanese Embassy, Bukhari Afandi, to meet Political Director Simon Gass. Gass expressed deep concern at the recent decision to sentence Maryam Yahya Ibrahim to death for ‘apostasy’, for professing Christianity after having been born of a Muslim father. He asked the Chargé to urge his government to uphold its international obligations on freedom of religion or belief, and to do all it can to get this decision overturned. The detained Ibrahim, pregnant of her second child, is also charged with ‘adultery’ under Article 146 for having relations with her Christian husband. Sudan refuses to recognise the marriage of a Muslim woman to a Christian man.
The Royal Embassy of the Netherlands in Nigeria has confirmed the receipt of applications for asylum by some Nigerians claiming to be homosexuals who want to leave the country for fear of persecution following President Goodluck Jonathan’s signing into law of the anti-same sex marriage bill. The embassy however said it lacks the power to grant asylum to applicants or process their applications. In an email to Thisday, the embassy wrote; “The embassy has received a small number of applications for asylum by Nigerians. It is not possible to apply for asylum at the embassy. We inform the applicants likewise but we do not register the number of applications made. “At this stage, it is not possible to make predictions. That would be speculation. However, when people become increasingly aware that it is not possible to apply for asylum at the embassy, one could expect a decrease. The embassy is not involved in the asylum process, neither in the application nor in the determination of the authenticity of claims.”