19 April 2012
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has completed a three day state visit to the Netherlands to commemorate 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. The visited included a state banquet in Amsterdam in which Queen Beatrix praised Turkey as an “inspiration and example” and stressed the history of peaceful relations between the two countries.
Gül’s visit has raised objection from the country’s Freedom Party (PVV) in the form of disparaging comments that “Islamist Gül complains about tolerance”. Representatives from other parties distanced themselves from the criticism, as Labour Party MP Frans Timmermans commented that “The cabinet is being taken hostage by [PVV leader] Wilders”. Further, one member of the PVV resigned from the party in embarrassment to show his disapproval of the comments and the party’s national policies. Gül’s response named Wilders as an Islamophobe whose “extreme voice… feeds radicals”.
Commemoration of the diplomatic anniversary continues, with the Rijksmuseum opening a new exhibition entitled “Modern Turkey”. And the Dutch Queen will return the state visit with a trip to Ankara and Istanbul in mid-June, her first visit to the country since 2007.