Crisis in Netherlands-Turkey relations

  • Liis Einstein
  • 12.3.2017 23:25

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened on 12 March to retaliate against the Netherlands after it barred Turkish ministers to hold a campaign rally in Rotterdam. Dutch authorities prevented Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam and escorted Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya to Germany. Violent protests broke out in Rotterdam in reaction.

The Turkish government is campaigning across Europe for the 16 April constitution referendum. If successful, it would grant the president more powers and turn the country's political system from parliamentary to presidential. Erdogan equated Dutch authorities with Nazis and fascists on 11 March as the diplomatic row intensified. Clashes also erupted outside of Dutch diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul, where an unknown man exchanged the Dutch flag for the Turkish one.

The bilateral turmoil is likely to boost support for far-right anti-migrant populist Geert Wilders ahead of the 15 March elections. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte did not express any regrets over the conflict but hopes to solve the issue. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen asked his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim to postpone planned visit to Denmark in late March. France urged Turkey and EU states to ease tensions.

About author: Liis Einstein

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