World Bulletin/News Desk
Opposition lawmakers on Friday demanded that the Dutch government seek clarification from Turkey after Ankara appeared to accuse the Netherlands of racism and Islamophobia against its ethnic Turkish population.
What began as a domestic Dutch political row escalated into a diplomatic spat this week after the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday Turkish immigrants were being discriminated against in the Netherlands.
The Turkish comments came in response to the resignation this month of two members of the Dutch parliament, both of Turkish descent, over the immigration policy of Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher of the Labour Party.
"Turkish society in the Netherlands is being subjected to discrimination and is the target of xenophobia, Islamophobia and racist accusations," Turkey's statement said. "We expect Dutch authorities to end all statements that could damage ... bilateral relations."
The Netherlands is home to one of the world's largest Turkish communities and people of Turkish descent make up more than 2 percent of the 17 million population, or nearly 400,000.
The opposition lawmakers sent written questions to the Dutch foreign minister, urging the government not to back down in confronting Turkey over the remarks.
"I want the government to take a stance," foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Christian Democratic Appeal, Pieter Omtzigt, told Reuters.
The resignations of Tunahan Kuzu and Selcuk Ozturk, who were in Asscher's own Labour Party, signals a hardening of the immigration debate in a country that has become increasingly wary of immigration in the past decade.
Support for anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has risen and left-wing parties have adopted a tougher stance on foreigners.
The confrontation also threatens to strain relations between Ankara and The Hague, which is a NATO ally and has supported Turkey with Patriot missile defence systems to help protect its border with Syria.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders and Prime Minister Mark Rutte sought to ease tensions, but also stressed that Dutch immigration policy was an internal matter.
"The Netherlands has its own policies on integration and does not need interference in this from other countries," Koenders said on Friday.
18 children among dead, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry
UN chief's Iraq envoy calls on the incoming government to prioritize 'reforms and the fight against corruption'
Greenhouse gases from waste equal to adding 2.1 million cars to roads
Organization of American States condemns Daniel Ortega in resolution
South Korean foreign minister cannot 'rule out' trilateral summit in two months
Airstrikes conducted in Turkey’s southeast and northern Iraq
4 bombs exploded near roadside in Kirkuk, at least 10 people were injured
19 reported dead, 103 rescued, 25 missing, rescue operation ongoing in Mediterranean
Under terms of Iraq’s constitution, current assembly’s mandate expired on June 30
In remarks ahead of this weekend's meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers in Argentina, Lagarde said there were signs global growth could begin to decline and called on policymakers to prepare.
Israeli army frequently conducts wide-ranging arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank
Probe by Israeli rights group B'Tselem concludes that intentional fatal shot was fired at the Palestinian paramedic.
"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said
Here are five takeaways from the news conference that followed their first summit, in the Finnish capital Helsinki:
An abandoned mining town in California went on sale for $ 1.4 million
Roughly 80 percent of Iraq’s crude oil exports originate from oilfields in Basra province