Dutch approach 'exactly fascism — Turkish EU Minister
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Mar 14, 2017,
Mar 14, 2017, 0:37
Erdogan said on Sunday that the Netherlands would "pay the price" after Rutte's government denied entry to Turkey's foreign minister and escorted a second Turkish minister to the Dutch border.
The events he was referring to included Saturday's occurrences in the city of Rotterdam, where Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Turkey's family-affairs minister, wanted to visit the Turkish consulate to speak to a pro-Turkish crowd.
The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Istanbul, says that Turkey and the Netherlands, two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, are now locked in an "unprecedented diplomatic crisis".
In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the Dutch as "Nazi remnants and fascists".
Rutte said it was important for his government not to bow to Turkish pressure, especially, he said, after Ankara threatened sanctions if the Dutch kept its ministers out.
"I understand that they are angry but this is way out of line", he said.
Erdogan's ministers are keen to tap into the diaspora in Germany, which includes 1.4 million people eligible to vote in Turkey - the fourth-largest electoral base after Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
The foreign ministry has asked the Dutch ambassador in Ankara, who is now on leave, not to return "for a while".
In Istanbul, the Dutch flag was replaced with the Turkish one, according to the Associated Press. "Wilders could benefit because this incident strengthens the image that Turks are not integrated and show more loyalty towards Turkey than to the Netherlands".
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The ministers were due to meet Turkish residents ahead of the April 16 referendum in Turkey on constitutional reform.
Protests erupted outside the Turkish consulate in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam late on March 11, 2017, after Dutch authorities banned visits of Turkish ministers aiming to whip up support for Ankara in a referendum planned for April.
The action against Turkish ministers was against the referendum in Turkey, he said.
"If my going will increase tensions, let it be", he told CNN Turk.
Unless Wilders' party performs far beyond expectations, it is seen as highly unlikely that it will be involved in the next government - almost all other parties have said they will not form a coalition with the PVV.
Citing security worries that Turkish political divisions might spill into its Turkish minority communities, the Dutch government blocked Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from landing in Rotterdam for a rally on Saturday.
"Indicating that he himself plans to travel to Europe for rallies, Erdogan aded: "I can go to any country I want if I have a diplomatic passport".
Politicians on all sides rounded on the Turkish government for dispatching ministers to the Netherlands for domestic political ends on the eve of the Dutch election. "A Turkish campaign has no business being here in Germany", de Maiziere told local media.
But the rally was banned for security reasons, and the minister's plane was then refused permission to land.