Gül’s visit is the highlight of celebrations marking 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The visit comes at a time when Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s minority right-wing coalition government is reliant on anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders for support in parliament. Gül is scheduled to meet Rutte in The Hague on Wednesday. In a weekend tweet, Wilders accused Gül of bullying Christians, beating Kurds and being a friend of Palestinian militant group Hamas. The Netherlands is home to nearly 400,000 people of Turkish origin, many of whom are guest workers who have lived in the country for years and their children.
Amid tight security, Gül and Dutch Queen Beatrix inspected an honor guard on the central Dam Square before the president and his wife laid a wreath and observed a minute of silence at the national monument erected to the memory of the victims of World War II. Gül was accompanied by Rutte, EU Minister and chief negotiator Egemen Bağış and Turkey’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker during the official ceremony.
Later on Tuesday, Gül was set to visit an Amsterdam museum and give a speech to a business forum before closing the day with a state banquet.