Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to the Netherlands government as “Nazi remnants and fascists,” after his foreign minister was banned from a referendum rally.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s was scheduled to speak at a rally in favor of a “Yes” vote on a referendum on constitutional changes that would give Erdogan more power, when the Dutch government revoked his plane’s landing permission in Rotterdam.
The government said Cavusoglu’s permissions were revoked due to “risks to public order and security,” but Erdogan cited the move as an example of “fascist practices.”
“They do not know politics or international diplomacy,” Erdogan said. “These Nazi remnants, they are fascists.”
Cavusoglu said their would be “heavy sanctions” against the Netherlands for canceling his flight and Erdogan suggested the country may retaliate against Dutch flights.
“Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on, let’s see how your flights will land in Turkey,” he said.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Dutch government had been searching for an “acceptable solution” for Cavusoglu’s campaign, but Turkey’s threat of sanctions made that impossible.
“Before these talks were completed, Turkish authorities publicly threatened sanctions. That makes the search for a reasonable solution impossible,” he said.
The Dutch government said it was open to meetings in the Netherlands to provide information about the referendum, but said Turkey’s government “does not want to respect the rules in this matter.”
“These meetings should not add to tensions in our society and everybody who wants to organise a meeting must adhere to instructions from authorities so that public order and security can be guaranteed,” the government said.
Austria, Germany and Switzerland banned similar rally’s featuring Turkish officials ahead of the April 16 referendum.
Erdogan also accused Germany of “Nazi practices” after the rally was canceled and Cavusoglu said the bans meant Europe is “taking a side for a ‘no’ vote.”
By Daniel Uria