‘Centuries-old history strengthens Turkish-Dutch ties’

Turkey's top diplomat on Thursday said one of the strength of his country's bilateral relations with the Netherlands is their four centuries of history.

The long history of Turkish-Dutch bilateral relation is one of our strengths going back over 400 years, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the opening of the 7th meeting of the Wittenburg Conference in the Netherlands' capital Amsterdam.

This year, as the Turkish side, we wanted to name the motto for this conference as Turkish-Dutch Partnership 2.0, Cavusoglu said, thanking his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok for the hospitality.

He added that the conference would set the guidelines in bilateral relations in the future.

Cavusoglu recalled that the two countries agreed on intensifying discussions on how to further enhance cooperation in various areas in 2008.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between our predecessors to initiate the Wittenburg Conference, he noted, and said: It aims at ensuring the enhancement of our relations and cooperation through meetings of specific working groups.

He went on to say that the conference also provides a ground for exchanging views on the areas of common interest.

At the time of instability and uncertainties around the world and in the Europe, both Turkey and the Netherlands can benefit a lot from these discussions, Cavusoglu said, adding Turkey and the Netherlands would work together in shaping dynamics in the region for peace, prosperity and stability.

Attributing great importance to the conference, he said it enabled the sides to improve political, economic and social ties in various fields.

Cavusoglu also noted that he expected to stand up together against common threats and forms of exclusion, such as ethnic and religious hate, discrimination, extremism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.

In addressing such widespread challenges, Turkey will continue to stress the need for transparency, diversity, dialogue and inclusive policies, he said.

Following the bilateral meeting, Cavusoglu and Blok will hold a news conference. Cavusoglu will later attend the official inauguration of the Turkish Consulate General in Amsterdam.

He is also due to meet the representatives of Turkish non-governmental organizations.

- 'Ties built on strong pillars'

Dutch Foreign Minister Blok, for his part, said the bilateral relations were built on strong pillars just like the building they were in, referring to the National Maritime Museum which was built in 1656 during Ottoman time when the Netherlands appointed its first ambassador to the empire.

Noting that the building alone is supported by 2,300 pillars, for centuries, Blok said: It is an image that reminds me of the relationship between our two countries. Strong pillars supporting a strong friendship.

Like this magnificent building, our relationship is not building on just one or two pillars; it's built on many, the Dutch foreign minister said.

Blok said one of the pillars is the shared history, and the other one is the fight against terrorism.

Commercial partnerships, and combined efforts to build a more peaceful world were also among the pillars, he said, adding that the cooperation in the field of migration was also one of the important ones.

Other pillars include our dialogue on important issues like human rights, and rule of law, and the cultural exchanges.

But I believe the strongest pillars of all is our people and the many lasting connections that we have made, the minister added.

Some of the pillars might weaken or even collapse, sometimes pillars need to be reinforced to repair. Fortunately, given the right conditions, most pillars will last for hundreds of years, he went on to say.

Source: Anadolu Agency