Wilders slams Dutch-Turkish celebrations

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Anti-Islam Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders says next year’s celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Dutch-Turkish relations should be called off. His comments, which appear in the opinion section of Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant on Saturday, have also been published online.

He writes that Turkish President Abdullah Gül is, as far as he is concerned, not welcome to make a state visit to the Netherlands. He says there’s nothing to celebrate.

“Gül’s Islamic regime and his party colleague, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, are no friends of the West and therefore not of the Netherlands either. President Gül is not welcome. Turkey has no place in the community of European values and there’s no reason for a party.

“Anyone who looks further than their own nose can see that the regime of Gül and Erdogan is killing off Turkey’s secular constitution in order to re-Islamise the country.”

Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Henk Bleker described Mr Wilders’ plea to scrap the celebration as “a very bad suggestion”.

Next year marks 400 years since the then Republic of the Netherlands set up its first diplomatic mission in Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire at that time. Major celebrations are planned to mark the anniversary.

(mw/tf/mb)

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