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Netherlands recalls Ambassador from Turkey

Netherlands has officially withdrawn its ambassador from Turkey, the Dutch foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday, Deutsche Welle reports.

The ministry added that it will not allow a new Turkish ambassador in Amsterdam as long as there is no Dutch ambassador in Ankara.

Despite recent talks between the two countries, Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra said “we could not reach an agreement on how to normalize relations.”

The Dutch foreign ministry has “paused” talks with Turkey on resolving the matter, it said.

The withdrawal of the ambassador is a largely symbolic gesture as the diplomat has been barred from Turkey since March 2017, when relations between the two countries took a downward turn over the Dutch refusal to allow Turkish ministers to campaign in the Netherlands ahead of a referendum.

Protests erupted in Rotterdam after the Netherlands expelled Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kayar before she could address a campaign rally of Dutch-Turkish citizens in favor of the vote which sought to expand the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish government demanded an apology for the minister’s treatment from Prime Minister Mark Rutte and blocked the Dutch ambassador, who was not in Turkey at the time, from returning to Turkey.

The referendum also strained relations between Germany and Turkey after German authorities canceled several rallies where Turkish officials were expected to speak in favor of the constitutional amendments.

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