Turkey recalls Hague diplomat over diaspora spying claims

December 21, 2016 14:40

AMSTERDAM - Turkey has summoned home a senior diplomat who was accused of compiling a list of Dutch Turks who might have sympathized with July's failed coup, the Dutch government said on Wednesday.

Yusuf Acar had been religious affairs attache at Turkey's embassy and the head of the Dutch arm of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, a situation ministers said could amount to an unacceptable mingling of politics and religion.The development comes amid heightened concern at what Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has termed the "long-arm" activities of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian government.

Acar told a Dutch newspaper last week that he had compiled a list of "Gulenists" in the Netherlands. In a letter to parliament, ministers said Ankara had withdrawn the diplomat after receiving a protest from The Hague.

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