BERLIN – The Dutch Freedom Party, the Netherlands’s third largest political party, urged the Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries last week to reconsider Turkey’s continued membership in NATO.

Geert Wilders, head of the party, and its Mideast expert, deputy Wim Kortenoeven, accused Turkey of abandoning its allies – Israel earlier this year, and now France.

Turkey severed diplomatic and military ties with France last week, over the French parliamentary resolution on the current Turkish government’s reaction to the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of Christian Armenians in 1915. The empire preceded the modern secular Turkish state founded in 1923, and the French deemed the state’s denial that these events represented genocide to be punishable by a monetary fine.

France is a leading member of the NATO military alliance, as is Holland.

Kortenoeven, a leading European specialist on the Mideast and author of several books on the region, told The Jerusalem Post that since Turkey has a short but disturbing history of abandoning allies, it could be a lethal mistake to entrust them with the custody of a crucial element of the new Western/European defense system against nuclear rogue states such as Iran and Pakistan. The Dutch lawmakers asked that the slated missile shield to be installed in Turkey be reconsidered.

The party’s military spokesman, Marcial Hernandez, also posed questions to the ministries regarding Turkey’s reliability as a NATO partner.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide stated that it is unlikely that countries such as the Netherlands or Germany will follow the French example and pass resolutions against Turkey.

Larissa van den Herik, professor of international law at Leiden University, was cited as saying: “Both countries have large Turkish communities. No one will be keen to offend them with a ban. But it would be good to put a bit more pressure on Turkey. It’s always good to take an honest look at your history.”

The Dutch Freedom Party opposes militant Islam and has generated much controversy in Europe due to its criticisms of political and reactionary strands of Islam in Holland and throughout Europe. The party played a kingmaker role in the last national election and helped establish the current coalition government.

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