Turkey-Netherlands Relations Worsen After Refusal For Turkish Minister’s Rallies

Time: 6:46 p.m. CEST

The Netherlands authority denied entry of Turkey’s family minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya to the consulate in Rotterdam and police escorted her to the German border. The Dutch authorities denied entry to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who attempted to fly in the Netherlands.

Both could not address Turkish expatriates in Rotterdam for the issues of upcoming referendum in Turkye on presidential powers.The Netherlands justified the decision with the possibility of tensions before the scheduled general election on March 15.

About 1000 people protested at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, but police used water cannon and riot police to disperse them. Contrary to the Netherlands, France allowed Cavusoglu to travel in Metz and held the rally on Sunday.

But, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, explained “Mr. Erdogan was not welcome to hold rallies as this could increase friction and hinder integration,” BBC.com reported. It seems that Kurz is not alone in refusal to allow political rallies of Turks officials, after several European nations feel discomfort with Turkey’s response to July coup.

Sweden cancelled a rally on Sunday where Turkish agricultural minister should have spoken, even though Sweden’s foreign ministry denied involvement in the decision. Regardless, the tense situation over rallies prompted strong reaction in Turkey, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan evaluated that the Netherlands will “pay the price.”

Erdogan said the Dutch are “sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday.” He added, “The West has clearly shown its true face on the last couple of days. What we have seen is a clear manifestations of Islamophobia.”

In addition, Erdogan added that even though he thought that Nazism was over, he was wrong. “Nazism is alive in the West,” Erdogan said. The Netherlands government said Erdogan’s comments are “unacceptable,” as Prime minister Mark Rutte reacted, as the country faces challenges of anti-Islam party of Gert Wilders in the upcoming election.

Despite Erdogan’s reaction, main opposition Republican People’s Party president Kemal Kilicdaroglu at rally in Adana on March 12 called the government to suspend relations with the Netherlands, Hurryiet Daily News reports.

The rhetoric was not different by other Turkish officials, as Cavusoglu reacted to entry refusal saying the Netherlands is the “capital of fascism.” Erdogan accused Germany with words refuted by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Denmark proposed postponing planned meeting with Turkish prime minister.

Turkey would hold а referendum on April 16 to decide on enlargement of presidential powers and whether would be a presidential republic, giving powers to the president to decides on ministers, prepare the budget, choose judges. About 5,5 million Turks are living abroad whose votes are important for the referendum outcome.


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