The crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands escalated this past week following the move by Dutch government to bar Turkish ministers from addressing a political rally in Netherlands over Ankara’s referendum campaign to empower the office of President.
Last Friday, Dutch authorities bared Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam.
Additionally, Turkey’s family minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya who traveled by car from Germany to the Dutch city of Rotterdam was stopped by police outside the city’s Turkish consulate.
Kaya was given a police escort to the German border and flew back to Turkey in a private jet.
Same day when Kaya was barred from entering the building of the consulate in Rotterdam town, Dutch police using dogs and water cannon hit hundreds of Hundreds of Turkish expats with batons.
Turks who were gathering outside their consulate in Rotterdan town were reportedly attacked by police dogs.
Some European countries sidelined with Holland
Officials in several European countries have stopped mass rallies by top Turkish politicians to attract support for a constitutional referendum.
Germany’s state of Saarland said on Tuesday it would ban foreign officials from holding election rallies on its soil amid a raging dispute with Turkey over campaigning for a pivotal referendum.
“After the recent debate about campaign appearances of Turkish government officials in Germany, Saarland will ban such appearances,” the southwestern region said in a statement.
Austrian governments have also criticised the Turkish government’s drive to take its referendum campaign to Turks based in EU countries.
Switzerland cancelled a campaign rally scheduled to take place in Zurich town because Turkish senior official was expected to attend.
Turkey’s response to Netherlands
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reacted furiously to Dutch government’s decision prevent his foreign minister from entering the country in order to hold a pro-government rally with Turkish citizens living in Rotterdam.
“They are very nervous and cowardly. They are Nazi remnants, they are fascists,” the Turkish leader told a crowd of his supporters in Istanbul.
Numan Kurtulmus, Turkey’s deputy prime minister accused the Dutch authorities of “shameless and rude” behaviour, adding that Ankara considers the move against Ms Kaya as an act against “the whole of Turkey”.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country will strongly respond to Dutch authorities’ “unacceptable treatment” toward Turkish ministers in a written statement released early on Sunday.
Mr Yildirim also urged Turkish nationals living in Europe to remain calm and not fall for provocations and asked them to cast their votes in the April 16 referendum saying it would be best response to the European nations.
He said: “There will be a stronger reprisal against the unacceptable treatment toward Turkey and ministers who have diplomatic immunity.”
Mr Yildirim added: “Our so-called European friends who speak of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights have failed their class.”
Turkey halts its diplomatic ties with Netherlands
Turkey announced a series of political sanctions against the Netherlands over its refusal to allow two Turkish ministers there.
Ankara declared that it going to close its air space to Dutch diplomats until the Netherlands meets Turkish requests.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, on Monday briefing journalists after the weekly council of ministers meeting, said the sanctions would apply until the Netherlands takes steps “to redress” the actions that Ankara sees as a grave insult.
Kurtulmus said Turkey’s government plans to advise parliament to withdraw from a Dutch-Turkish friendship group.
Yes vote ‘best answer to Turkey’s enemies
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum next month on expanding his powers was the “best answer to Turkey’s enemies.
“Our nation on April 16 at the ballot box… will give the best answer,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
Accusing the Netherlands of “state terror” in preventing Turkish ministers from holding pro-’yes’ rallies, he warned of further retaliation against The Hague.
“We are going to work more” on measures against the Netherlands, said Erdogan. “These wrongs won’t be solved with a sorry, we have more things to do.”