Turkey told the Netherlands on Sunday that it would retaliate in the “harshest ways” after Turkish ministers were barred from speaking in Rotterdam, as a row over Ankara’s political campaigning among Turkish immigrants escalated.
President Tayyip Erdogan said “Nazism is still widespread in the West” after the Netherlands joined other European countries worried about political tensions inside Turkey spilling beyond its borders that have prevented Turkish politicians from holding rallies.
The Dutch government on Saturday first barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam and later stopped Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate in the port city, before escorting her out of the country to Germany.
Dutch police used dogs and water cannon early on Sunday to disperse hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags outside the consulate in Rotterdam. Some threw bottles and stones and several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. Officers carried out charges on horseback.
The Dutch government, which is set to lose about half its seats in elections this week as the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders makes strong gains, said the ministers’ visits were undesirable and it would not cooperate in their political campaigning in the Netherlands.
“If you can sacrifice Turkish-Dutch relations for an election on Wednesday, you will pay the price,” Erdogan said in a speech at an awards ceremony in Istanbul.
“I thought Nazism was dead, but I was wrong. Nazism is still widespread in the West,” he said. “The West has shown its true face.”
Speaking to reporters before a public appearance in the northeastern French city of Metz, Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue to act against the Netherlands until it apologises.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would do everything to “de-escalate” the confrontation, which he described as the worst the Netherlands had experienced in years.
But he said the idea of apologising was “bizarre”.
“This is a man who yesterday made us out for fascists and a country of Nazis. I’m going to de-escalate, but not by offering apologies. Are you nuts?” he told a morning talk show.
In a statement issued early on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey would retaliate in the “harshest ways”.
Protesters also gathered outside the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul, throwing eggs and stones at the buildings.
Wilders: “go away”
“With the current Turkish attacks on Holland the meeting cannot be seen separated from that. I have therefore proposed to my Turkish colleague that the meeting will be postponed,” Rasmussen said in a press release.
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