President downplays Wilders’ Twitter move
President Gül (C) and his wife, Hayrunnisa Gül (R), wave as they leave for Amsterdam. Gül says the Dutch should not feel ashamed because of Wilders’ actions. AA photoPresident Abdullah Gül played down a social media campaign by far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders opposing his visit to the Netherlands.
“The Dutch probably feel ashamed but they should not do so. This type of person exists in every country. In countries of pluralism, there may be politicians having very different, extreme ideas,” Gül said before his departure to the Netherlands yesterday. Wilders of the Freedom Party (the PVV) started a Twitter campaign saying that Gül was not welcome in the Netherlands before the Turkish president departed for the country. Wilders’s campaign was intended to spread with the hashtag “#Gulstayhome” which said, “Turkish humor: Christian-teaser, Kurd-basher, Hamas-friend and Islamist Gül complaining about tolerance.” The campaign came after Gül’s interview in which he referred to the rise of extremism in Europe. Gül warned against the rise of Islamophobia in Europe and called for more tolerance in an interview with Dutch daily De Telegraaf, daily Vatan reported yesterday. Gül said Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) was a politician with an extreme voice that feeds radicals in the interview. Gül said he was still prepared to shake Wilders’ hand if an encounter occurred during his ceremonial visit. Gül also said Wilders could see how prejudiced he was if he would visit Turkey. Wilders has, according to the Radio Netherlands report, indicated months ago that Gül was not welcome in the Netherlands, despite the fact that the Dutch government had issued an invitation.