Turkey vows to respond strongly after Netherlands stops its ministers from addressing rally

Asmita Sarkar
Turkey vows to respond strongly after Netherlands stops its ministers from addressing rally

Relations between Turkey and the Netherlands took a nosedive after the latter stopped yet another Turkish minister's aircraft from landing on its soil on Saturday (March 11). In response, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country will strongly respond to the Dutch authorities' "unacceptable treatment" towards Turkish ministers who were stopped from addressing their country's nationals in the Netherlands for a referendum vote.

Yildrim urged Turkish nationals living in Europe to remain calm and urged them to cast their votes in the April 16 referendum.

In the latest incident, the Dutch authorities detained Turkey's family minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya preventing her from addressing a Rotterdam rally in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. She was subsequently escorted to the German border. A pro-Turkey crowd had also gathered at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, which was dispersed by the police later.

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In response,  the Turkish authorities sealed off the Dutch embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, respectively. They also closed off the residences of the Dutch ambassador, charge d'affaires and consul general.  

"There will be a stronger reprisal against the unacceptable treatment toward Turkey and ministers who have diplomatic immunity. Our so-called European friends who speak of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights have failed their class," Yildrim said on Sunday (March 12). 

Less than a day ago, Turkish President Erdoğan called the Netherlands "Nazi remnants" and "fascists" after his foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's plane was also stopped from landing. The rally, which would be for a referendum giving more powers to the president, was on the lines of anti-immigration sentiments and the Dutch authorities were concerned that public order would be disrupted. 

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Erdoğan said the Dutch "do not know politics or international diplomacy" and added: "these Nazi remnants, they are fascists."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the Turkish president's "Nazi" comment "a crazy remark." 

"I understand they are angry but this is of course way out of line," Rutte said during a campaign rally for Dutch elections slated for Wednesday (March 15).   

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