A Turkish minister was escorted out of the Netherlands on Sunday less than a day after Turkey’s foreign minister was denied entry, spurring Turkey’s President Tayyep Erdogan to dub the Dutch “Nazi remnants”.
He told them government officials in the Netherlands “do not know politics or worldwide diplomacy” after they prevented his foreign minister from holding a rally in Rotterdam to campaign in favour of constitutional reform that would expand presidential powers in Turkey.
‘We will show those who think they can get away with an apology that they are making a mistake, ‘ said Erdogan, who is campaigning for an April 16 referendum on boosting his powers.
On Monday, Turkish Europe minister Omer Celik said that Turkey should reconsider the “land passage” component of last year’s EU-Turkey deal, which aimed to stem the flow of migrants into Europe.
Erdogan is now trying to secure electoral support from the estimated 4.6 million Turkish expatriates living in western Europe before a referendum next month which would grant him sweeping new constitutional powers.
Erdogan has drawn condemnation for accusing The Netherlands of acting like Nazis in banning his ministers from holding rallies.
European leaders have been vocal in their disapproval of the referendum, saying the executive-centered system that Erdogan is planning to introduce will concentrate power in the president’s hands at the expense of democracy in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state and EU membership applicant.
The Council of Europe has 47 members, including the Netherlands and Turkey.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said “inflammatory remarks” by Mr Erdogan would not help de-escalate the diplomatic row.
Erdogan accused the Netherlands – which was occupied by the Germans in World War II – of behaving like the Nazis.
The dispute escalated quickly – Cavusoglu threatened the Netherlands with sanctions if his flight to the country was prevented from landing.
Supporters of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk to the Dutch consulate in Istanbul on Saturday.
In response, Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya chose to go to Rotterham by road from Germany.
The Netherlands followed suit and also revised their travel advice for Turkey, urging Dutch citizens visiting Turkey to exercise caution.
Police clashed with protesters outside the Turkish consulate in the Dutch city of Rotterdam early Sunday, as a diplomatic spat suddenly pushed relations between the two countries to a historic low.
The row between the two countries started when Rotterdam authorities banned a rally in the city meant to lure in support for the next referendum in Turkey. We know that you are no different than them, ‘ Erdogan said. Observers say that Berlin does not want to provide a platform for propaganda to government officials whose policies the federal republic does not agree with.
Ratcheting up the rhetoric in the diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Amsterdam, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party has called for a recall of Ankara’s ambassador to the Netherlands. The Netherlands will hold a national election on March 15.