Netherlands acting like a ‘banana republic’: Turkey’s Erdoğan
ANKARA/ROTTERDAM - Reuters
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 12 the Netherlands was acting like a “banana republic” and should face sanctions for barring Turkish ministers from speaking in Rotterdam, amid a row over Ankara’s political campaigning abroad.
“Has Europe said anything? No. Why? Because they don’t bite each other. The Netherlands is acting like a banana republic,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the northwestern province of Kocaeli on March 12.
“I call on all international organizations in Europe and elsewhere to impose sanctions on the Netherlands,” he said, after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım earlier said Turkey would retaliate “in the harshest way.”
Erdoğan is hoping for the large number of Turkish voters living in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, to help him secure victory in the April 16 referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.
In a speech in France, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu described the Netherlands as the “capital of fascism” as it joined other European countries in stopping Turkish politicians holding rallies, citing concerns that tension in Turkey could spill over into their expatriate communities.
The Dutch government barred Çavuşoğlu from flying to Rotterdam on March 11 and later stopped Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate there, before escorting her out of the country to Germany.
Dutch police used dogs and water cannon on March 12 to disperse hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags outside the consulate in Rotterdam. Some threw bottles and stones and several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. Mounted police officers also charged the crowd.
The Dutch government - set to lose about half its seats in elections this week, according to polls, as the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders makes strong gains - said the visits were undesirable and it would not cooperate in their campaigning.
A day earlier, Erdoğan described the Netherlands as “Nazi remnants” and returned to the theme on March 12 by saying “Nazism is still widespread in the West,” in what Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte described as “inflammatory remarks.”