Netherlands calls on EU to suspend aid to Turkey

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 29.09.2016 00:00

The Dutch Parliament requested the suspension of EU aid to Turkey in a parliamentary session on Tuesday, claiming the country has steered away from the "principles of the state of law" after the failed July 15 coup attempt.

During the session, the Dutch Parliament also accepted to ban Turkey's financial support for mosques in the Netherlands.

The decisions are among growing actions taken by the Netherlands against Turkey and Turkish citizens recently.

The main opposition Socialist Party (SP) and Christian Union (CU) offered a motion that proposes to halt 600 million euros of yearly aid to Turkey with respect to the country's "applicant" status to the EU, by claiming Turkey is going away from the "principles of the state of law" after the failed July 15 coup attempt. The motion, which requests Brussels take action regarding the issue, was supported by other opposition parties in parliament.

In the session, parliament also accepted a motion given by Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) with 75 votes against 67, which prohibits Turkey's financial support to mosques in the country through the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB). The motion was supported by the government partner, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). However, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte claimed it won't be easy to ban Turkey's financial support to mosques because of "freedom of religion." Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Ascher will give comprehensive information to parliament next week regarding the issue.

Parliament rejected the opposition parties' other offer "calling for an end to Turkey's membership talks." The ruling parties said it is not a decision that can only be taken by the Dutch Parliament.

Recently, many politicians in the Netherlands have spoken out against Turkish citizens and Turkey, as Islamophobia and Xenophobia become more widespread in the country.

The chair of the Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert Wilders and the parliamentary leader of the VVD, Halbe Zijlstra, said last week that Turks are no longer welcome in their country. Wilders stated he doesn't want "even one more Turk" to come to his country and has called on the country to close its doors to Turkish citizens. Zijlstra supported Wilders' comments and said "Turks should go back to Turkey if they see Erdoğan as their leader."

In early September, Wilders said he was upset about the failure of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, claiming any military regime is better than President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He also promised to close all mosques and Islamic schools and ban the Quran in an online manifesto in August.

Despite being seen as a marginal figure by some experts, Geert Wilders' PVV is the most popular party among Dutch people and could win the majority of the seats in an election, according to recent opinion polls.

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