Dutch delegation's Turkey trip cancelled over Wilders

3rd December 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch parliament said the MPs have decided to cancel a trip to Turkey after Turkish government said Geert Wilders is unwelcomed in the Islamic country.

The Hague – A delegation of Dutch parliamentarians to visit Turkey in January has been cancelled after members of the Turkish government refused to meet anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliament said.

Wilders and other lawmakers from the Netherlands who had planned a working trip to Turkey from 4 to 9 January, decided at a meeting on Wednesday to cancel this visit, the parliament in The Hague said in a statement.

"The delegation came to this decision because it understood that a large number of Turkish government representatives did not wish to meet them," the statement said, adding the lawmakers were sorry to call off the trip.

Islam is the major religion in Turkey whose ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is Islamist-rooted, although the country has a secular system.

The announcement came after the Turkish foreign ministry last week blasted the controversial politician's plans to visit the country.

"We reject the racist views of this person... He is unwelcome in many European countries as well," ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin said.

Wilders has argued that Europe is at risk of Islamisation, called for the Koran -- which he compares to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf -- to be banned and described Islamic culture as "retarded".

At the head of the Party for Freedom, he has also voiced fierce opposition to Turkey's European Union membership bid, likening the country to a Trojan horse whose accession would prompt more Muslims to immigrate to Europe.

The move to cancel the trip has been criticised by the Socialist Party. In a report published by de Volkskrant, Socialist MP Harry Bommel said there are other politicians who are willing to speak to the Dutch MPs.

He also pointed out that the refusal to meet Wilders was not an official government position as it was expressed by a spokesman for the foreign affairs ministry.

AFP / Expatica

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