Turkey's new Dutch envoy vows to play 'positive role'

By Nazli Yuzbasioglu and Muhammed Emin Canik

ANKARA (AA) – The Netherlands' newly appointed ambassador to Turkey on Monday expressed hope to play a positive role in Turkey-Netherlands relations.

"I am happy to be here [in Turkey]. This is a very important moment. I hope to play a positive role in Turkey-Netherlands relations," Marjanne de Kwaasteniet told reporters upon her arrival at Ankara's Esenboga airport.

Appointed as ambassador to Turkey on Sept. 7, Kwaasteniet previously served as the Netherlands' Permanent Representative to NATO.

Relations between the two countries plunged ahead of the April 16, 2017 presidential referendum in Turkey, when Dutch authorities canceled the flight permit of a plane carrying Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on March 11 last year.

The Dutch government also expelled the then Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from Rotterdam, blocking her from addressing the Turkish community in the Netherlands ahead of the referendum.

Moreover, rallies organized by Turks there in favor of constitutional changes to shift Turkey to an executive presidential system faced tremendous restrictions from both central and local governments.