Turkey has recalled the head of a key religious organisation in The Netherlands after he informed Ankara about Dutch citizens believed to oppose the Turkish government, the Dutch foreign ministry said Wednesday.
Handing over such information "is an undesirable and unacceptable form of interference in the lives of Dutch citizens by a diplomatic representative," Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said in a letter to parliament.
According to Dutch media, Yusuf Acar, the representative here for Turkey's powerful Diyanet religious affairs directorate and a member of embassy staff, had been gathering information on suspected sympathisers of the alleged mastermind of Turkey's failed July coup.
The Netherlands has a large community of citizens with Turkish roots. And last week Acar was quoted by the daily De Telegraaf saying he had indeed collected information, but denied spying on people.
"I drew up a list based on information available on the internet," he said.
Following the revelations, Koenders said in his letter he had summoned the Turkish ambassador for talks and they reached "a mutual agreement to withdraw" Acar from The Netherlands.
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