Dutch PM wants to de-escalate diplomatic row with Turkey
THE HAGUE - Reuters
REUTERS photoDutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on March 12 he would do everything to “de-escalate” a diplomatic confrontation with Turkey he described as the worst the Netherlands has experienced in years, after two major incidents on March 11.
Turkey told the Netherlands that it would retaliate in the “harshest ways” after Turkish ministers were barred from speaking in Rotterdam.
“I’ve never experienced this before, but we want to be the more prudent party,” Rutte said.
“If they escalate we will have to respond, but we will do everything in our power to de-escalate,” he added.
First on March 11 Turkey attempted to send its foreign minister to the Netherlands to hold a rally among Turks living in the Netherlands in support of a referendum campaign. The Netherlands, which had asked the minister not to come, revoked landing permission for his plane.
Later the same day, Turkey’s family affairs minister traveled from Germany and attempted to address a large crowd in Rotterdam. She was stopped by Dutch police, declared “persona non-grata” and escorted back to the German border.
Erdoğan threatened the Netherlands with economic sanctions and called the Dutch government “Nazi remnants and fascists.”
Rutte, who is running neck and neck with anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders in Dutch elections to be held on March 15, argued the Netherlands was within its rights to block Turkish rallies here, as they “presented a
threat to public order.”
Around 500,000 Turkish immigrants and their children live in the Netherlands.