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Queen Beatrix first Dutch royalty on state visit to Turkey

First ambassadors appointed in 1612

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ANKARA, Turkey – The relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey date back a lot further than the arrival of tens of thousands of Turkish migrant workers in the Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, in 2012 it will the 400th anniversary of the bilateral ties dating from the first appointments of ambassadors. The recent visit by Queen Beatrix to Turkey is the first state visit by Dutch royalty, however.

It is not a well-known fact but Turkey lent a helping hand in the United Dutch Republic’s Eighty Year War with Spain when Turkey’s fleet in the Mediterranean Sea kept the Spanish government pre-occupied with a serious threat on its doorstep. Dutch diplomacy played a key role in the long drive for independence of the country and the Turks did their part.

Upon her arrival, Queen Beatrix visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Signing Anitkabir's guest book, Beatrix said that her visit to Turkey was a confirmation of peaceful and friendly relations between Turkish and Dutch peoples, stating that the great qualifications of Ataturk, a distinguished statesman, contributed to cooperation and friendship between Turkey and the Netherlands.


Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer formally welcomed Queen Beatrix at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara, where she stayed at the guest house. Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima are accompanying Queen Beatrix.

Queen Beatrix's meeting with Turkish authorities focussed on issues such as Turkey's EU membership process, economic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands, tourism, inter-cultural and interfaith dialogue, the problems of Turkish people living in the Netherlands, agriculture, urban policies, jurisdiction, co-operation between Turkish and Dutch police departments, and culture and education.

On the second day of this landmark state visit to Turkey, Queen Beatrix traveled to the central Anatolian city of Kayseri, where many of the 350,000-strong Turkish community in the Netherlands have their roots.

What Beatrix was curious about was the situation of labour rights and labor unions in the country. Before her departure for Ankara, the queen met with a group of workers who are either still working in the Netherlands or who retired from their jobs in the Netherlands.

Around 1,000 police and 250 gendarmerie forces provided security during Queen Beatrix's three-hour-long stay in the city.

The trade partnership between Turkey and the Netherlands has seen bilateral trade increase to about $6 billion annually.