The relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands has taken a step backwards after a Turkish minister of family business was blocked and expelled from the Netherlands. Minister kaya came to Rotterdam with the intention to deliver a speech on Turkey’s constitutional referendum in the Turkish consulate. There has been a lot of critique against the constitutional change Erdogan is suggesting, this would give him more power, and could eventually lead to a dictatorship in Turkey. The Dutch constitution states that everyone has got the freedom to express themselves, by sending Kaya away, we disables her from expressing her thoughts and ideas about the upcoming Erdogan referendum. Does the expelling of Kaya go against the freedom of speech, and have we crossed the line by sending her away or is it justified for our current situation.
For the first time, almost all politicians agreed it was wisely to send Kaya back to Turkey. Why wouldn’t the ministers just let her speak out about this constitutional change? Firstly it was important to remain the public safety, by letting Kaya attend to the meeting she would stimulate the constitutional change which could have effects for the peace our the state and other surrounding states. Secondly doesn’t the Netherlands allow Turkish public political campaigns, which was kind of Kaya’s intention.
It is understandable that the Dutch government does not want to stimulate Erdogan’s behaviour, but let’s look at it from a different perspective. The Dutch citizens with a Turkish passport have the right to vote at the referendum. These Turkish people want to know what they are voting for, they want all the information and campaigns the Turkish government has got to offer, just as Dutch citizens want to know everything about their national politics. We as Dutch people live in a country where the freedom of speech is key in our culture. People may be critical about others, and are allowed to tell whatever they want to tell. Isn’t it weird that the Dutch state disapproves the welcoming of this Turkish minister while claiming freedom of speech Is a really important factor of Dutch culture. Some people consider, even though Erdogan’s plans are not in favour of the Netherlands, there should be freedom to express yourself about the referendum, if you are for or against it not the matter.
As a Dutch nation we have certain interests, we do not want others to have too many power. The referendum may cause a lot of havoc among countries. Erdogan is building a strong army, nationalism is striking back in Turkey, is the prevention of huge campaigns justified by the protection of not only the Netherlands and its citizens but also Europe? You may consider that when Turkey gains a lot of power under influence of Erdogan, Europe could come in danger, isn’t it then important that the safety of the people is protected in favour of freedom of speech? This is where different ideologies clash, if you look at it from the manner of full freedom you would say it is allowed to campaign about the referendum, but if you look at the consequences it may have for the safety of different countries within Europe, you may say that preventing Turkey from campaigning might me the solution of keeping peace.
Considering all these angles, and views It is important to look at the collective welfare. How will the majority of the people be effected by the referendum? If Erdogan gains more power, this could lead to a totalitarian state where people in Turkey are suppressed, and people within Europe have less to say. The freedom of speech may be interrupted in Turkey, and the situation over there could really go nuts. Many people are in favour of Erdogan but do they realise what the consequences may be? Should we prevent these people from making the decision of voting ‘yes’ for the referendum or should we let society decide about faith, because majority is king?
I personally think that The Dutch state should really inform people about the Turkish referemdi, and what the effect may be on both positive and negative front. This will have the effect that Dutch/Turkish citizens know what to vote for without being stimulated by Erdogan and his campaigns. The lack of knowledge could really affect the voting decision of a citizen, it is therefore important that our people know what is waiting ahead of them and if they should agree to the terms of Erdogan, or decline his suggestion. It is important to keep people informed, but not only from a one sided perspective. The Turkish people may all have their own voice, and let’s hope they will all understand the consequences of the referendum.
Concluding all of this, It is key that the freedom of speech is considered, but the safety and consequences of the referendum are just as important. These concepts may clash with each other and it is difficult to say whether one or the other is justified, but it for sure is important that the people of Turkey know what the future consequences may be, and if this is being guided correctly by the Netherlands, major mistakes should and could be prevented. Let’s not all forget that the vote of the citizen counts, whether the Dutch take action or not.
Nos 6uur Journaal
Author: Amber Aerts