Supporters of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wave flags outside the Dutch consulate to protest, in Istanbul. Photo / AP
A row between Turkey and the Netherlands
has escalated as a Turkish minister was prevented from entering her country’s embassy in Rotterdam, the foreign minister’s landing rights were revoked and Turkey’s President dubbed the Dutch “fascists”.
The already strained ties between Europe
and Ankara have deteriorated sharply over Turkish rallies planned in European cities.
Turkish government officials are trying to whip up support among citizens living abroad for an upcoming referendum on vastly expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayin Kaya posted on Twitter that she was stopped 30m outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.
The state-run Anadolu news
agency said she was also stopped at the border by police before she entered the country from Germany.
The Dutch Government said in a statement that allowing Cavusoglu to hold the rally posed a security risk and his threat “made the search for a sensible solution impossible”.Earlier, Turkey’s top diplomat, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had been scheduled to address a campaign rally at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam but was not allowed to land in the Netherlands after he threatened the country with sanctions should he be denied entry.
The Government had previously said a rally could not be held.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to Ankara and told the Netherland’s ambassador, who is currently not in the country, to refrain from returning for some time.
A statement from the ministry also threatened “serious consequences in the diplomatic, political, economic and other fields”.
The Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul were then reportedly closed off for security concerns, according to Anadolu.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then called the Dutch Government “Nazi remnants”, and warned there could be retaliatory measures.
“From now on, let’s see how your planes come to Turkey,” Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul, according to Anadolu, the state-run news agency. He also called the Dutch “fascists”.
Several Turkish campaign rallies in support of the April 16 referendum have been cancelled in European countries, including Germany and Austria.
Hundreds of Turkish government supporters had gathered outside the consulate in Rotterdam, some chanting slogans in favour of Erdogan and waving red-and-white Turkish flags.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul airport, Cavusoglu – who is expected in France tomorrow – called the Dutch action “scandalous” and “unbecoming of diplomatic conventions”.
He accused the Dutch Government of taking sides in the referendum, saying the Netherlands was afraid of a “yes” outcome because then Turkey “will become stronger, a more independent country”.