Netherlands and Turkey

The Netherlands and Turkey have seen each other at political odds after the Dutch government revoked access for a Turkish minister planning to hold a rally over the countries upcoming referendum to increase executive powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the coup d’etat attempt last year, with a number of political spats between the two nations. Firstly we should question the event that triggered Turkey’s decision to hold the referendum in the first place, the 2016 Coup D’etat attempt by sections of the Turkish military. However, since the coup took place it has been suggested, but never verified, that the coup may have been staged in order to enable Erdoğan to deal with political opponents with a significant number of military officials, political opponents, journalist, even civil servants and teachers being either arrested or fired from their positions in a large-scale purge by the Turkish government following the coup.

This eventually led to an upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey, while the referendum covers a large number of topics such as lowering the age of a potential parliamentary candidate from 21 to 18, expanding the size of the Turkish Parliament from 550 to 600 and abolishment of Military Courts to name just a few, perhaps the most interesting are those concerning the presidency, namely the increase in executive powers, which is considered the main area of contention for most people opposed to the referendum, as part of this referendum the large number of Turkish citizens living in many European countries like Austria, Germany, Denmark, France and of course the Netherlands have seen a number of rallies in those countries in order to encourage overseas citizens to support the referendum with a number of government officials traveling to Europe to take part in the rallies.

However, the Netherlands which had previously approved the visa of a Turkish official to travel to the Netherlands, have since revoked it causing a large amount of outcry in Turkey and its government. Turkey had even gone as far to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands, is Turkey right to be upset with the Netherlands for effectively interfering with the referendum process, or is right for Turkey to even consider increasing the executive authority of the President in a country that has seen a steady decline in press freedom?

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