Tension mounts as Holland stops Turkish rally

Indo Asian News Service

Amsterdam, March 11 (IANS) The Dutch government on Saturday stopped a Turkish rally on its land by denying landing permit for the Turkish Foreign Minister's plane over security concerns, a government statement said.

It said that after failing to find an alternative solution with the Turkish authorities, the Dutch in the end were left with no other option but to stop Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's plane from landing.

A Dutch Foreign Ministry official confirmed to Efe news the decision which stopped Cavusoglu from attending a rally that had been planned in Rotterdam on Saturday.

The rally was part of a "yes" campaign for an upcoming referendum in Turkey on constitutional reforms.

The move opens a new chapter in diplomatic tensions between the two NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) members over the referendum being pushed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The referendum would pave the way to reforming the constitution and transform Turkey into a presidential republic, Efe news reported.

Cavusoglu had earlier said in an interview with CNN Turk television that if the Dutch authorities refused him permission for the rally, Turkey would bring harsh economic and political sanctions against it.

He also said that it was unreasonable to refuse him permission.

On Wednesday, the owners of a private hall in Rotterdam had cancelled the space allocated for the Turkish Minister's rally.

Cavusoglu was planning to seek support of nearly 300,000 Turks living in the Netherlands where they had the right to vote in the April 16 referendum on Turkey's constitutional amendments.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb supported the cancellation.