Netherlands pleased with deep ties with Turkey: Dutch FM Hoekstra

The Netherlands is pleased that they have a wide and deep relationship with Turkey, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in an interview released Thursday.

Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA) during his visit to the capital Ankara for the ninth Turkish-Dutch (Wittenburg) Bilateral Conference, Hoekstra underlined that not only the Netherlands is an important business actor in Turkey, but also Turkey is an important business player in the Netherlands.

“Although currently at a very high level, we think there is potential for more trade, more jobs, more opportunities in different areas. That’s why we want to continue the ongoing trade and investment trends.”

When asked about how the placement of Dutch Patriot air defense systems in Slovakia, within the scope of NATO, affects the security of the Netherlands, Hoekstra said that they “discussed at length” with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that the war in Ukraine is endangering the stability, security and peace of the continent.

“The most important thing we can help Ukraine at the moment is military equipment. Because a country that is strong on the battlefield will be strong at the negotiating table if it succeeds in defending itself,” he added.

Turkey and the Netherlands share deep-rooted relations for centuries and look forward to further developing their ties, the Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Çavuşoğlu’s remarks came at a joint news conference with his Dutch counterpart Hoekstra in Ankara after the 9th Turkish-Dutch (Wittenburg) Bilateral Conference.

“We have exchanged views on regional developments, Ukraine, Russia, and Syria,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that he also informed Hoekstra about his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier in the day.

The trade volume between the countries has increased to around $11 billion (TL 189.3 billion), but the goal of $20 billion is achievable, Çavuşoğlu said.

He added that up to a million Dutch tourists were expected in Turkey this summer.

The rights and integration of some 500,000 Turkish people residing in the Netherlands was also one of the topics discussed, according to Çavuşoğlu, who said that their well-being was a mutual responsibility of both countries.

Dutch Minister Hoekstra, for his part, said officials of both sides got a chance to discuss various matters including opportunities in areas of security, migration and economy.

He said the “turbulent geological times” disrupted the global order in the wake of the war in Ukraine, and the Netherlands welcomed Turkey’s efforts to “bring parties to the negotiation table.”

In response to a question regarding the PKK terrorist group, the Dutch official said his country, along with the EU, designated it as a terrorist organization and the Netherlands would continue to cooperate with Turkey in this regard.

Earlier, five working groups exchanged views on Turkey-EU relations, the Turkish-Dutch community, counterterrorism, energy and climate.

First established in March 2008, the conference aims at enhancing bilateral ties and cooperation. The last session was held virtually on Jan. 27, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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