Netherlands: Turkey demands

Netherlands must protect the rights of Turks living in the Netherlands, and those who have worked here for years. The Turkish ambassador Selahattin Alpar delivered that message to The Hague and to Balkenende's cabinet from the Turkish government. There are 370,000 Turks living in the Netherlands.

The ambassador thinks it is the responsibility of the Dutch government to provide education to the children of Turkish employees in their own language and culture. "It is really inhumane not to teach children who might come back with their parents to Turkey about their own country and language."

Further Turkey points to the back pay of Dutch pension funds to Turkish guest workers. Turkish remigrants have many problems getting their benefits. Turkey also dislikes the high visa costs for Turkish visitors.

Ambassador Alpar said today in an interview with the De Telegraaf that the discussion, in and also out of the Parliament, about double passports "harms the integration" of Turks in the Netherlands. The discussion is according to him "pure nonsense" and outlines a wrong picture. "And that in a land that is btw a founder of the European Union. The Union strives for a mosaic of cultures, where nobody predominates, that people in the Netherlands shouldn't forget.

Alpar further says that is country would still like to belong to Europe, but not at any price: "If Brussels puts more entrance demands, the exercise is finished. We do want the feeling that we are welcome." Meanwhile support among the Turks for joining the EU is back to 55%. The ambassador thinks that Europe can't do without Turkey. "We are your gateway to the East."

He doesn't think the European criticism is just: "We are a secular state, that appears in our constitution. The majority of Turks believe in it. And in our land compared with most EU lands there's full freedom of speech. Europe should realize that east of Turkey all the way to Japan there's not one democracy."

Source: FOK (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Pushing Turkey to exempt Dutch from army service , Netherlands: Turkey worried about Turkish-Dutch

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