Danish PM Rasmussen demands Turkish PM to delay Denmark trip

Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has urged his Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to delay a planned trip to Denmark.

The Prime Minister’s office says in a written press statement that the suggestion comes in light of Turkish tensions with the Netherlands. “With the current Turkish attacks on Holland the meeting can not be seen separated from that. I have therefore proposed to my Turkish colleague that the meeting will be postponed,” Rasmussen said in a press release.

On Saturday evening, Dutch police has detained Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya to deport her to Germany after declaring her “undesirable alien.” Minister Kaya decided to go to Rotterdam by car despite the fact that the Netherlands on Saturday canceled the flight clearance for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s aircraft to land in Holland.

Earlier on Saturday, a car carrying Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was stopped by Dutch police. Sadin Ayyıldız, the Turkish consul general in Rotterdam, said Minister Kaya’s car was stopped at some place unknown to him. “I do not exactly know where the car was stopped. As you can see, I am not allowed to go to the place where the minister was stopped,” he said.

Dutch public NOS TV reported that the minister’s car was stopped close to the Turkish Consulate. Turkish state media teams and others in the minister’s convoy were not allowed entry to the Netherlands and were asked to return to Germany.

Programs in which Kaya had planned to participate were previously cancelled. Minister Kaya decided to go to Rotterdam by car despite the fact that the Netherlands on Saturday canceled the flight clearance for FM Çavuşoğlu’s aircraft to land in Holland.

Dutch police have also closed off the road in front of the Turkish consulate residence in Rotterdam after Minister Kaya announced she would travel to the city by car. Dutch police dispersed Turks who had gathered in the location where the minister’s car was stopped.

As an act of retaliation Turkish police has also blocked Dutch missions in Turkey citing security reasons. Turkish police closed the gates of the Dutch Consulate General in İstanbul and the embassy in Ankara, not allowing anyone to enter or exit the buildings. The move came after Dutch police blocked the street on which the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam is situated and refused to allow Minister Kaya into the building.

After the Netherlands’s decision to cancel the flight clearance for Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu’s aircraft to land in Holland, Ankara asked that Dutch Ambassador Cornelis Van Rij not return to Turkey for a while, the state-run TRTHaber reported on Saturday. Earlier on Saturday, the Netherlands’ chargé d’affaires in Ankara was summoned to Turkish  Foreign Ministry.

Çavuşoğlu was scheduled to fly to Rotterdam on Saturday for a campaign rally, but the flight clearance for his airplane was canceled just hours before his flight. Çavuşoğlu said Saturday during a live interview with CNNTürk that Turkey would impose sanctions on the Netherlands if the country were to cancel clearance for his flight later in the day.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also threatened to refuse Dutch aircraft the right to land in Turkey. “Don’t allow our foreign minister’s plane to go there as much as you want — let’s see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on. I am talking about diplomacy here, I am not talking about citizens’ travel. That is another issue, and we will assess that later on,” Erdoğan said during a speech in İstanbul’s Bağcılar district.

Meanwhile, a political campaign meeting of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman Mehdi Eker, who is responsible for external relations of the party, was also moved to a different location in Stockholm, Sweden after the venue owner cancelled the lease contract on Saturday.

Turkey’s relations with Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have been strained over these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold rallies there ahead of a public referendum in Turkey in April.

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on a constitutional reform package which will introduce an executive presidency in the country if approved. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have canceled scheduled events to be attended by Turkish ministers in their own countries usually out of security concerns.

A large number of Turkish citizens or people of Turkish origin live in these countries, and Turkish citizens living abroad have the right to vote in elections and referenda.

Turkish government, which has pressed ahead with many controversial and anti-democratic decrees that have the force of the law and are not required to be approved by Parliament, aims to gain support of Turkish citizens living in Europe who are eligible for voting in Turkey’s elections. In line with these decrees, over 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies on coup charges.

Also, as of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention. A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.

Moreover, according to a recent report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom, 200 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey as well as thousands of judges, prosecutors, academics, diplomats and even a comedian over charges of terrorist links.

March 12, 2017

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