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Turkey, Netherlands agree to normalize relations

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to the crowd at a ceremony site on the July 15 Martyrs Bridge (Bosphorus Bridge) in Istanbul on July 15, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey and the Netherlands have agreed to normalize relations following a severing of bilateral ties in a 2017 diplomatic row.

The two governments “agreed to normalize diplomatic relations,” Turkey's Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The resuming of normal diplomatic relations between Ankara and The Hague comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan succeeded in his plan to change the country’s constitution from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated in early 2017 after the Netherlands decided to forbid two Turkish ministers from making election speeches in the country to the Turkish diaspora before Turkey's April 2017 constitutional referendum.

In protest to actions and reactions by officials from both sides, the Netherlands and Turkey ordered their ambassadors to leave their posts.

According to reports from both sides, the Netherlands and Turkey are expected to reappoint their ambassadors shortly.

In a joint statement, the two countries said their foreign ministers "agreed to normalize the diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey."

"To that extend the ministers agreed to reinstate ambassadors in Ankara and The Hague shortly," the statement added.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Friday the decision to return diplomatic relations to normal level had been reached in a phone call between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Stef Blok, his Dutch counterpart.

Cavusoglu told private broadcaster NTV that within the next couple of months Blok would visit Turkey.

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