The Netherlands barred Turkish ministers from speaking in Rotterdam on Saturday in a row over Ankara’s political campaigning among Turkish emigres, leading President Tayyip Erdogan to brand its fellow NATO member a “Nazi remnant”.
The dispute escalated into a major diplomatic incident in the evening, as Turkey’s family minister was prevented by police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam. Hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags gathered outside, demanding to see the minister.
Dutch police used dogs and water cannon early on Sunday to disperse the crowd, which threw bottles and stones. Several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. They carried out charges on horseback, while officers advanced on foot with shields and armored vans. …
“The world must take a stance in the name of democracy against this fascist act! This behavior against a female minister can never be accepted,” she said. The Rotterdam mayor confirmed she was being escorted by police to the German border.
The Dutch government, which stands to lose heavily to the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders in elections next week, said it considered the visits undesirable and “the Netherlands could not cooperate in the public political campaigning of Turkish ministers in the Netherlands.”
Erdogan is looking to the large number of emigre Turks living in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, to help clinch victory next month in a referendum that would give the presidency sweeping new powers. …
Cavusoglu, who was barred from a similar meeting in Hamburg last week but spoke instead from the Turkish consulate, accused the Dutch of treating the many Turkish citizens in the country like hostages, cutting them off from Ankara.