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Dutch News
Queen avoids sensitive issues 3/1/2007
AMSTERDAM - Queen Beatrix had nothing but good things to say about the host country during the official banquet last night. She has high hopes for the ties between Turkey and the Netherlands.

Queen Beatrix did not talk about human rights violations or the Armenian genocide during her state dinner with Turkish president Sezer on Tuesday.

"These days Turkey is regarded as a strong NATO ally, who shares common values with the other countries, like the respect for fundamental freedoms," the queen said. She also said that Turkey was seen as an ally who takes decisive action against terrorism and extremist violence.

Beatrix said that Turkey and the Netherlands had grown closer over the past years, as had Turkey and Europe.

The queen said the negotiations on Turkish membership in the EU would "undoubtedly be time-consuming" and that "many obstacles" would have to be overcome, but that the first steps on this road had been taken.

She also touched on the presence and integration of the many people of Turkish descent in the Netherlands. "Successful young Turkish Dutch can be found in many professions and in many places in our society: entrepreneurs, students, teachers and politicians." This has resulted in good relationships between the Turks and the Dutch.

The Turkish president called the Netherlands a "friend and ally" and said that the "honest and objective" attitude of the Netherlands was appreciated.

Sezer also said that the Turks were very concerned that the 400,000 Turkish people in the Netherlands be allowed to hold on to their heritage, and that developments in this area were being followed closely.

There was much interest in the Turkish media for the queen''s visit. Turkish television showed extensive footage of her arrival.

In addition to the mausoleum of Atatürk, founding father of modern Turkey, the queen, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima visited a primary school and the Parliament.

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