Netherlands proud of Turkish-origin citizens: Dutch FM

- "We are proud of our 400,000 Turkish-Dutch citizens and their contributions to our society," Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has said.

ANKARA (AA) - The Netherlands is proud of its Turkish-origin citizens, the country's Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Tuesday in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

"We are proud of our 400,000 Turkish-Dutch citizens and their contributions to our society," Koenders said at the Seventh Annual Ambassadors’ Conference at the Presidential Palace.

He also said Turkey made significant progress in the last 10 years. He said the EU should work together with Turkey in the fight against terrorism and radicalism, and it was within this context that the Netherlands wanted to improve its relations with Turkey.

He also praised Turkey for its efforts on hosting about 1.6 million refugees, most of them from Syria.

The foreign minister also emphasized that the Netherlands took part in international coalition efforts to help Kurds, Ezidis, Shias and other groups in Syria and Iraq.

Ultimately, the keys to peace were in the hands of the Iraqi and Syrian people, he said.

Koenders also said the Netherlands was examining incidents of racism seriously. "Discrimination is unacceptable. I assure you, Holland will take an action for people who suffer from racism."

According to recent reports, Islamophobia and racism has grown significantly in Europe, especially in Germany.

Germany witnessed an increase in suspicion and negative feelings toward Muslims in recent months as far-right and right-wing populist parties sought to benefit from a growing fear of Islam and Muslims, largely influenced by reports of atrocities committed by the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group in the Middle East.

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