Dutch Queen to pay visit to Turkey to mark 400th year of relations

Dutch Queen Beatrix, whose visit to Turkey was kept secret for a long time so as »»

Dutch Queen Beatrix, whose visit to Turkey was kept secret for a long time so as not to provoke the racist Dutch Freedom Party, is set to pay a visit to Turkey on June 13-15. The queen’s visit marks the 400th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands.

Queen Beatrix will be welcomed by President Abdullah Gül and first lady Hayrünnisa Gül at the Çankaya presidential palace on Wednesday. The Turkish president, who paid a visit to the Netherlands in April of this year, will host a dinner in honor of the Dutch queen, who will be visiting Turkey for the second time in five years. The Dutch queen, who will be accompanied by Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, is scheduled to proceed to İstanbul next Thursday to meet with Turkish university students and scholars at a panel discussion on relations between the two countries, social developments in Turkey as well as international issues.

Gül, who was awarded the Dutch Medal of Honor on his visit to the Netherlands, was accompanied by EU Affairs Minister and chief negotiator Egemen Bağış and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker. Meanwhile, Netherlands Radio, referring to the Turkish president’s recent visit to the Netherlands, said the queen’s visit had been kept secret for a long period. “So as not to arouse the anger of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, which supported the minority government, the visit was kept secret. However, Rutte’s government fell, so there was no need to keep the visit secret,” said the radio station in its news bulletin.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tendered the resignation of his entire cabinet to Queen Beatrix last April. 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.



Columnist: TODAY'S ZAMAN