STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR RAUF ENGİN SOYSAL, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY, On the Recent Developments Affecting the Relations Between Turkey and the Netherlands, 1137th Meeting of the Permanent Council
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
It is with a heavy heart that I bring this current issue to theattention of the Permanent Council. I am aware how sentiments are high in anumber of circles, with regard to the matter between my country and the Netherlands. But the OSCE was intended as a platform for dialogue to resolveissues. It is in line with this fundamental quality of our Organization that Iwill offer a concrete, factual and dispassionate account of a series ofincidents which took place in the Netherlands.
On 11 March 2017, our Minister for Family Affairs and Social Policies,Ms. Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya proceeded to our Consulate General in Rotterdam, tomeet with our Consul-General and to have talks with representatives of theTurkish citizens living in the vicinity.
At around 19.00 hours, approximately 30 meters from theConsulate-General, the Minister and her convoy, which included our Chargéd’affaires to the Netherlands, our Consul-General in Deventer and otherdiplomatic and consular personnel, were barred from proceeding any further byDutch law enforcement forces. At the same time, law enforcement forcesprevented our Consul General in Rotterdam and his staff from exiting theConsulate-General in order to greet the incoming Minister.
For hours, the Minister and our diplomatic and consular staff tried toreach someone who could help overcome the impasse. But, to the contrary, thingsgot worse. This is what happened:
The staff of our Consulate-General in Rotterdam, including theConsul-General, remained barricaded. Our Chargé d’affaires, our Consul-Generalto Deventer, and other diplomatic and consular personnel accompanying theMinister were publicly made to lean against their cars, forcibly body-searchedand then removed to the Rotterdam Central Police Station, taken into custody,stripped of their belongings and placed in solitary cells. As we are alldiplomats around this table, let me repeat this last point once again: ourhighest diplomatic representative in the Netherlands, his staff, ourConsul-General and his staff were forcibly taken to a police station, put undercustody, searched, stripped of their belongings and placed in solitary cells.
Meanwhile, the Dutch police also intercepted the vehicle with diplomatic license plates transporting the Minister. The car was taken over and driven by a masked person to a police precinct in the town of Nijmegen, close to the Dutch-German border, with the Minister and her delegation inside. The passports of the Minister and her delegation were taken away. Her security detail was detained and removed to a police precinct.
As our diplomatic and consular officers in the Netherlands were impededby Dutch authorities in the manner I have outlined, three of ourConsul-Generals in Germany arrived to the police precinct in Nijmegen at around2.30 in the morning, but were denied access to the Minister. The Minister wasforcefully detained at the precinct for 90 minutes, following which she wasescorted by Dutch police officers to the border with Germany. She was notallowed access to any Turkish diplomatic or consular officer until reaching theborder. Even then the Dutch law enforcement forces did not return her passport.
In addition to the episode of extreme gravity I have just shared, policeused grossly disproportionate force to disperse peaceful Turkish demonstratorsin Rotterdam. The police used water cannons, mounted elements, batons andspecially trained dogs. The police went as far as to having one of their dogsattack and bite a demonstrator who was already coerced to the ground. Thepolice also forcibly prevented Turkish media representatives to cover theincidents, and forcefully so.
The incidents I have just shared with you contain elements that are in flagrantcontempt, disregard and violation of conventional diplomatic practices,diplomatic courtesy, as well as the Vienna Conventions that codify diplomaticand consular relations between states. They are utterly incompatible with everyconceivable norm relating to international relations, including our OSCEcommitments.
We have protested these incidents in the strongest fashion. We have letthe Dutch authorities know what we expect them to do in order to redress andcorrect the totally unacceptable behavior of their law enforcement officers.
While we have done these at the bilateral level, the severity of the incidents has also compelled us to raise this matter in all pertinent international platforms, including the OSCE.