May 25, 2018

Turkey referendum: Dutch are Nazi remnants – Erdogan

ryTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the Dutch as “Nazi remnants and fascists”, as a row grows over a cancelled Rotterdam rally.

Earlier, the Dutch government withdrew landing permission for a plane carrying Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu.

He was originally scheduled to speak at Saturday’s rally in support of a Yes vote in a referendum which would give Mr Erdogan greatly increased powers.

The rally was banned for security reasons, Rotterdam’s mayor said.

Turkey has now summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara for an explanation.

‘Reasonable solution impossible’

“Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on, let’s see how your flights will land in Turkey,” President Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul.

Mr Cavusoglu also warned Turkey would impose heavy sanctions if his visit were blocked.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (in Dutch) that the Turkish threat of sanctions made “the search for a reasonable solution impossible”.

Therefore the Netherlands was withdrawing landing rights, he said.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said earlier this week that the owner of the hall scheduled to hold Mr Cavusoglu’s event in the city on Saturday had withdrawn authorisation, but the foreign minister could still visit.

“He has diplomatic immunity and everything so we will treat him with respect, but we have other instruments to prohibit things happening in public spaces,” Mr Aboutaleb said, quoted by Reuters news agency.

There was also uncertainty about whether an event he was due to attend in Zurich, Switzerland, on Sunday would go ahead after one venue refused to hold it.

Another event in Zurich scheduled for Friday and featuring a senior official was cancelled, as were rallies in the Austrian towns of Hoerbranz, Linz and Herzogenburg.

The Dutch and Austrian governments have also criticised the Turkish government’s drive to take its referendum campaign to Turks based in EU countries.

Relations between Turkey and European countries have deteriorated since last July’s attempted coup in Turkey. Germany has been critical of the mass arrests and purges that followed – with nearly 100,000 civil servants removed from their posts.

Many European nations have expressed deep disquiet about Turkey’s response to the coup attempt and its perceived slide towards authoritarianism under President Erdogan.

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