Turkey’s spat with the Netherlands over ministers’ barred political speeches gets nasty

Some protesters attacked the police which resulted in violent treatment of Dutch police against Turkish citizens living in the country.

After Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was deported from the Netherlands on Saturday night after she wanted to deliver a political speech at the Turkish consulate residence in Rotterdam, the Dutch police brutally dispersed the Turkish protesters. Some protesters attacked the police which resulted in violent treatment of Dutch police against Turkish citizens living in the country. 

The Netherlands on Saturday canceled the flight clearance for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s aircraft to land in the country. Following the decision Minister Kaya announced that she would travel to the city by car following this development, the Dutch police stopped the minister’s car and asked her to leave. The minister was detained and taken to German border later on.

Meanwhile, a protester in İstanbul removed the Dutch flag at the consulate building and replaced it with a Turkish one on Sunday. The Turkish flag was seen flying at the Dutch consulate building at noon İstanbul time. Reportedly, a man replaced the Dutch flag in protest of the cancellation of Turkish minister’s campaign talk in the Netherlands.

On Sunday, Minister Kaya said upon arrival in İstanbul after her deportation from the Netherlands that she received inhumane treatment and even most of her team’s basic needs were not met. Minister Kaya said despite criticism of state of emergency (OHAL) in Turkey by European countries, the Netherlands declared OHAL in one night and attacked Turkish citizens with dogs in reference to the police intervention in the protesters.

During the press statement, Minister Kaya was accompanied by Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who happens to be Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Mayor of Rotterdam said, on the other hand, that he was misled by the Turkish consul general who said the Turkish minister would like to arrive in the city not for a political speech, but only for a visit, Murat Kani reported for TR724 news portal.

Aboutalib said the consul general Sadin Ayyıldız told him that the Turkish Minister Kaya will not deliver a speech to campaign for the April 16 referendum in Turkey. The mayor said the Dutch authorities prevented a political event after he was misled by the consulate.

In response to ‘Nazi remnants’ criticism of Turkish government, Aboutalib said that it was the people of Rotterdam who suffered a lot from the Nazi regime in 1945 when the city was bombed.

The mayor of Rotterdam said they are against political propaganda of Turkish ministers in the city and that is why they prevented the minister Kaya from entering the consulate.

The Turkish government is criticized for conducting political rallies across Europe to win support of millions of Turkish citizens eligible to vote in Turkish elections. The Dutch authorities have also taken a stance against the political campaigns in their soil in favor of expanding Turkey’s already autocratic President Erdoğan’s powers in April 16 referendum.

On Saturday night, Minister Kaya was deported on Saturday night after she insisted on going to the residence of the Rotterdam consulate of Turkey despite an earlier Dutch cancellation of flight clearance for Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu’s aircraft to land in the country.

President Erdoğan said on Sunday that the Netherlands will pay the price in reference to prevention of Turkish ministers and dispersal of protesters by the Dutch police on Saturday. “This cannot be left without a response. Those who treat me my minister, deputies with disrespect will pay the price for their actions. Those who attack my citizens with horses and dogs will pay the price,” Erdoğan vowed in a speech in İstanbul televised live on Sunday.

He argued that the prevention of political rallies by the Turkish ministers in Europe to campaign for expanding the powers of the president in Turkey in April 16 referendum is result of ‘Islamophobia’ and revival of Nazism. “Turks won’t leave those lands. They will pay the price in every possible way. They will learn what diplomacy is, what international diplomacy is,¨ Erdoğan said targeting the Netherlands.

Erdoğan also claimed that the Netherlands sacrifices the Turkish-Dutch relations for the national elections to be held on Wednesday and using the crisis as a domestic political tool. “We have not yet done what is supposed to be done,¨ Erdoğan further challenged the Dutch as he urged Turkish citizens in the Netherlands to vote in favor of executive presidency in Turkey which will grant him even wider powers.

On the other hand, amid strained relations with the Netherlands, Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu said on Sunday that the Dutch Ambassador to Ankara who is currently on vacation will not be able to set foot in Turkey. “The ambassador on vacation will not be able to set foot in Turkey and the Dutch will apologize,” the minister said while in France following the deportation of a Turkish minister and the violent disperse of Turkish protesters in Rotterdam on Saturday.

“I wait in anticipation if the European Union will react to such fascist attitude,” Çavuşoğlu pointed out while talking to reporters during his campaigning for the referendum in France. He also vowed consequences for Dutch prevention of Turkish ministers.

Çavuşoğlu further argued that Europe is moving towards the pre-World War II era. He said a Turkish diplomat was detained and kept in a cell in the Netherlands. “My consul general was not allowed outside the mission which is Turkish soil¨ Çavuşoğlu also stated adding that the Dutch treatment was against Vienna Convention.

Several European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden, canceled political campaign meetings of Turkish ministers in order to seek support of Turkish expats living in Europe for a referendum on April 16.

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. (SCF with turkishminute.com) March 12, 2017


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