Turkey, Netherlands appoint new envoys after freeze

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Turkey and the Netherlands on Friday appointed new ambassadors after agreeing to renew diplomatic ties damaged last year when two Turkish ministers were barred from a Rotterdam rally.

Saban Disli, a former ruling party lawmaker, was named as Ankara's envoy to The Hague, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement, following his approval by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Dutch foreign ministry said that Marjanne de Kwaasteniet, that country's former permanent representative to NATO, would be the new ambassador to Turkey.

"The appointment will only be final once the Turkish government has given its approval," a Dutch ministry statement said.

Erik Weststrate, the Dutch charge d'affaires in Ankara, said on Twitter that the Netherland's first female envoy to Turkey would "arrive soon" but the Turkish ministry did not indicate when Disli would take up his post.

Disli served as an MP for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by Erdogan. Disli was also a founding member of the AKP.

The appointments come after the two countries agreed in July to normalise ties on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels.

Their relations had deteriorated after Dutch officials barred the Turkish ministers from a Rotterdam rally of Dutch-Turkish citizens in favour of Turkey's April 2017 referendum, in which Erdogan narrowly won sweeping new powers.

At one point, Erdogan accused the Netherlands of acting like the Nazis.

The Dutch envoy, who was abroad at the time, was not allowed to return to Turkey, and in February 2018, relations hit a new low when the Netherlands officially withdrew its ambassador and said it would refuse a new envoy from Ankara.

The Turkish foreign ministry said Friday that Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok would visit Turkey in early October, describing it as "the next step in normalisation of affairs" between two countries who have had "long-standing relations for over 400 years".

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© 2018 AFP

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