A small American town flooded with angry phone calls amid Turkish-Dutch spat

The police department of the small American town of Rotterdam were surprised las week when one of their phone numbers suddenly received dozens of calls from furious Turks shouting, swearing or singing nationalist songs at them.

It seems the town, with 29 thousand inhabitants and about 5,700 kilometers away from the Dutch Rotterdam, unwittingly became involved in the diplomatic fallout between the Netherlands and Turkey, the Dutch daily Telegraaf reports.

The Dutch Rotterdam was the scene of the fallout a week and a half ago. Hundreds of Dutch-Turks gathered at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam to hear Turkish ministers speak about a referendum that would give Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan more power.

The Dutch government denied the Turkish ministers access to the country, fearing a risk to public order. And when one of the ministers, Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, was escorted from Rotterdam to Germany, the speech attendees turned into rioters. Since then diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and Turkey pretty much fell apart.

It seems likely that some Turks wanted to share their displeasure with the Rotterdam police, and when Googling their number, ended up at the wrong Rotterdam Police Department. They ended up at the dispatch center of the Schenectady County in upstate New York. According to the newspaper, someone posted a video showing the wrong number online, and the number of phone calls increased.

The bombardment did not cause anything more dangerous than annoyance, because the number is not an emergency line. Though the local authorities are investigating how to prevent similar situations in the future. (nltimes.nl) March 22, 2017

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