The bitter war of words between the Netherlands and Turkey has escalated after Turkish ministers were banned from addressing rallies of Turkish citizens in Holland ahead of a controversial referendum in Turkey, which will give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan massive new powers.
Relations between the two nations have taken a swift turn for the worse ahead of the referendum in Turkey, April 16, which could give enormous powers to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — increasing his presidential responsibilities and grip on the country.
The amendments to the constitution include the introduction of an executive presidency that would replace the existing parliamentary system of government and the abolition of the office of the Prime Minister.
There are significant Turkish populations in both Germany and the Netherlands which are eligible to vote in the referendum leading to diplomatic tensions between all three countries, as Erdogan’s minister attempt to address rallies in the Netherlands and Germany.
Significantly, the Netherlands is holding a general election, March 15, with the right-wing anti-Islam Party for Freedom — led by Geert Wilders — riding high in the polls. Rallies of Turkish residents in the Netherlands have been canceled or members of Erdogan’s government have been prevented from addressing them.
The conservative candidate for Prime Minister, Geert Wilders, chastised the protesters with harsh words.
“You are no Europeans, and you will never be.”
He explained that Turkey would never be allowed into Europe and that Muslim values are incompatible with Western ones.
“Turkey voted for Erdoğan, a dangerous Islamist who raises the flag of Islam. We do not want more, but less Islam. So Turkey, stay away from us. You are not welcome here.”
“I call on all international organizations in Europe and elsewhere to impose sanctions on the Netherlands. Has Europe said anything? No. Why? Because they don’t bite each other. The Netherlands are acting like a banana republic,” Erdogan said March 12.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, March 10, banned the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering his country, sparking a diplomatic row. Cavusoglu had planned to travel to the Netherlands to address rallies of Turkish citizens.
However, Rutte made it clear that the foreign minister will not be welcome if his intention is to attend rallies to ramp up support for Erdogan.
“It is not about him coming to the Netherlands. He can come to visit the Mauritshuis museum or see the tulips if there are any. We do not want him holding rallies,” Rutte told a news conference in Brussels.
The Netherlands is home to a large number of Turkish “guest workers,” particularly in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague. Many of them are eligible to take part in the referendum.
The row has also affected relations between Turkey and Germany, where there is a significant Turkish population. A string of rallies over the referendum in Germany have been canceled — ostensibly for security reasons — bringing accusations from Turkey that Germany is attempting to interfere with Turkish democracy. Erdogan accused Germany of using “Nazi tactics” to prevent the rallies.
“It cannot be justified. Nazi comparisons only lead to misery. This needs to stop,” Merkel said in a speech to the Bundestag, March 9.
*************************** WAR OF WORDS BETWEEN THE DUTCH AND THE TURKS ! A SCHOOLYARD BRAWL , MORE NEWS HERE ****
Turkey’s family affairs minister has said her convoy was blocked by Dutch police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
We were stopped at the Consulate General of Rotterdam 30 meters away and were not allowed to enter,” Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya wrote on Twitter, adding that by denying her access to the building “Netherlands is violating all international laws, conventions and human rights.”
NOS posted footage purportedly showing the minister, surrounded by police after she stepped out of her car.
Anadolu reports that the Dutch police also blocked its correspondents along with reporters from Turkey’s TRT channel, who were with the minister to cover her visit.
Pro-Turkish demonstrators have gathered outside the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam to protest the actions of the Dutch authorities. According to AP, some 100 people took to the streets to join the demonstration, while some eyewitnesses put their number at 500.
The demonstrators were waving Turkish national flags and standing near the consulate entrance. As the crowd grew, the Dutch police took additional security measures at the scene. The police officers put up railings to keep anyone from getting too close and deployed additional forces to the consulate, according to AP.
Earlier there were reports that the minister was arrested by they were later dismissed.
Channels CNN Turk and NTV earlier reported that the convoy of Turkey’s family minister was stopped at the Netherlands border.
The incident involving the Turkish family minister comes just hours after Dutch authorities revoked authorization for the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight, hours after he had warned that Turkey would retaliate if his visit was canceled.
Earlier, Cavusoglu insisted that he would go ahead with his visit to Rotterdam even if local Dutch authorities did not agree to his taking part in a rally promoting a change in Turkey’s constitution.
Cavusoglu intended to campaign at the rally to drum up votes in favor of an April referendum that would give the Turkish president new powers, but Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, banned the Turkish official from speaking in public in the city late Friday.
Meanwhile, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s ultranationalist MHP party, Semih Yalçın, has claimed the Turks were ready to stage a protest at the airport the Turkish Foreign Minister was supposed to land at.
“Our friends have now started a sit-in at the airport where the Foreign Ministry was planning to land,” Yalçın said, adding that the aim is to demonstrate a “reaction to Europe.”
Yalçın has also accused the European country of a “medieval mentality.”
*********************** MORE TENSION BETWEEN THE NETHERLANDS AND THE TURKS , READ MORE ! *************
The Dutch embassy and consulate in Turkey have been closed off for security reasons, Reuters reported citing Turkish foreign ministry. A mass rally took place outside the consulate in Istanbul after Turkish Foreign Minister was refused landing in the Netherlands.
The residences of the Dutch ambassador, charge d’affaires and consul general were also closed off, according to the same source.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said earlier in a statement that Ankara did not want “the Dutch ambassador, currently on leave, to return to his post for some time.”
“It has been explained to our counterparts that this grave decision taken against Turkey and the Dutch Turkish community will cause serious problems diplomatically, politically, economically and in other areas,” the statement said, as cited by Reuters.
The move follows the Dutch government barring Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam.
Initially, Cavusoglu was to speak at a rally organized by Ankara to promote the referendum on amending the Turkish constitution among Turks living in the Netherlands.
The withdrawal of permission for Cavusoglu to land was condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who lashed out at Dutch officials, calling them “Nazi remnants, fascists.”
Just hours before the shutdown of Dutch diplomatic buildings, another top Turkish official, Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was blocked from entering a Turkish consulate in Rotterdam by Dutch police. The move has triggered mass protests of Turkish community members outside the building.
Tensions between Ankara and Amsterdam have been building up for some time, before reaching a breaking point on Saturday night.
Netherlands has repeatedly warned Turkey against interfering in its internal affairs. In August, the Turkish Consul General in the Netherlands was reported to have sent a letter instructing mayors of several Dutch towns close to Rotterdam on how to fend off protests staged by opponents of the Turkish government. The document has caused outrage in Amsterdam, with Foreign Minister Bert Koenders saying that that protest activity in Holland is its own internal issue, and has “nothing to do with the Turkish government.”
Back in April, much controversy was sparked by the letter penned by a Turkish consulate official circulating on social media, in which he asked Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands to brief the consulate on the “messages from people who are insulting our president, the Turkish national or Turkey in general.”
The Dutch authorities said that it would ask “for an explanation” from Ankara, following the incident.
************************ WAR OF WORDS, FASCIST BANANA REPUBLIC AND THE DANGEROUS ISLAMIST TURKS ! **********
Pro-Turkey protests in Rotterdam turned into riots and Dutch police had to use water cannons to break up the violence. Online videos of the protests show police trying to control the crowd with dogs and horses while protesters fought back. The situation happened only days before critical elections in the Netherlands to determine the next prime minister.
A string of events led to the clash. First, the Dutch government prevented the Turkish foreign minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, from landing in the country. Her intent was to hold a rally to support an upcoming referendum that would give Turkey more power. Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is considered a dictator by some.
Unable to land in the country, the foreign minister attempted to travel to the Netherlands by road. Dutch police stopped the car and prevented her from entering the Turkish consulate building where she would be safe from arrest. When police attempted to tow the car with her in it, she got into a different car and returned to the German border.
Turkish people became angry at the sleight. The incident highlighted the tension between native Europeans and Muslims, an important issue considering the proximity of the Dutch election. The foreign minister, who wears a hijab, said she would never accept this unlawful treatment.
The ensuing heated protests caused the mayor of Rotterdam–who is also a Muslim–to declare a state of emergency. The state of emergency later spread to the rest of the country. The mayor expressed frustration at the riots and advised young people who were not happy with their privileges to leave Holland.
In Turkey, Erdogan himself jumped into the fray. He accused the Dutch government of Nazism and Fascism and said that the Netherlands will “pay the price” for expelling the Turkish minister. His accusations of the Dutch being Nazis were not well received.
The Dutch government said it would not allow foreign political powers to hold rallies on its soil.
Erdogan hopes that the large number of Turkish people living in Europe will vote to give him more political power in an upcoming referendum. He says that he needs more power to combat the presence of the Islamic state.
The situation has gotten ugly with the Turkish Chief of Police threatening to arrest Dutch diplomats in the country in retaliation for the Dutch government’s treatment of the Turkish minister.
The protests became more heated, with Turkish supporters throwing rocks and shouting “Allah Ackbar!” The war cry has become disturbing to Westerners for its association with Islamic terror groups. Increased violence and difficulty controlling the protesters led the Dutch police to disperse the crowd with water cannons.
The Turkish media reported this as suppressing democracy. Journalists felt the need to take sides after this accusation because of the large number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey.
The events are considered important because of their proximity to the Dutch election. In a few days, Dutch citizens–both dual Turkish and EU–will go to the polls and vote, and those fearing a rising tide of nationalism in Europe think that these protests will give a last burst of fuel to Geert Wilders’ campaign.
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