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A year to remember, Turkey and the Netherlands

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions.

By Uğur DOĞAN, Turkish Ambassador to the Netherlands.

A year to remember: 400th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands

In 2012, Turkey and the Netherlands celebrated the 400th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. Through these years, we have had a very unique relationship based on mutual respect, friendship and cooperation.

In 1612, the Dutch envoy Cornelis Haga presented his credentials to the Ottoman Sultan, on behalf of the then Republic of the Netherlands. This was the start of four centuries of cooperation and exchange between the Netherlands and Turkey. In 2012, the longstanding ties between the Netherlands and Turkey were celebrated with numerous festivities in both countries. Besides this, reciprocal state visits, ministerial visits and trade missions were realized.

Within the context of the 400th anniversary celebrations more than 600 activities in political, cultural, economic, academic and social fields were organized in both countries. We have had a wonderful year where we enjoyed high level visits which were highlighted by the visit of the President of Turkey, H.E. Abdullah Gül to the Netherlands in April which was reciprocated by the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess (then Queen) Beatrix to Turkey in June. In November 2012, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Royal Highnesses King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visited Turkey. And lastly, the Turkish Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Erdoğan paid a visit to the Netherlands in March 2013. Undoubtedly, these visits and activities have further strengthened and developed the relations between our two countries, and will reinforce long-term co-operation and create sustainable partnerships.

In the economic sphere, the business communities of both countries have been enjoying a mutually beneficial cooperation. The Netherlands has traditionally been an important trade and investment partner of Turkey. Currently, the Netherlands is one of the biggest foreign investors in Turkey and the bilateral trade volume is increasing. In 2012, our bilateral trade volume has reached 7 billion Euros. The entrepreneurial spirit is very high among the Turkish community living in the Netherlands and as the Dutch Turks (400 thousand strong), they are contributing not only to the Dutch economy but also acting as able conduits between our two business communities, since they are well-versed in both Turkish and Dutch ways of doing trade.

In the cultural front, we have had numerous cultural activities in the form of exhibitions, concerts, fashion shows, films and the like. Some of them continued to take place even beyond the celebrated year. The exhibition entitled “Troy: City, Homer and Turkey” in Amsterdam’s AllardPiersonMuseum was one of the highlights in the cultural area.

In the academic sphere, we have also realized numerous events such as conferences, workshops, book launches and symposiums.

In conclusion, at the end of 2012, we closed one chapter in our relations with the Netherlands and yet opened up new horizons for mutual benefit. Most importantly, we trust that the year of 2012 has been instrumental in bringing the people of our two countries closer and has helped forge a better understanding and appreciation of each other.

A photo from the State visit of the Turkish President H.E. Abdullah Gül.
Front Row, from left to right: 1- HM  King Willem-Alexander; 2- Hayrünnisa Gül, First Lady of Turkey; 3- H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey; 4- HRH Princess Beatrix.

Back Row, from left to right: 1- HM Queen Maxima; 2- Professor  Pieter van Vollenhoven; 3- HRH Princess Margriet


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