Main opposition leader calls on gov’t to suspend relations with Netherlands
ADANAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has called on the government to suspend relations with the Netherlands following an escalating diplomatic row over the country’s refusal to permit a Turkish minister to enter the consulate in Rotterdam, showcasing the party’s support for the government on the issue.
“Now, I am issuing a clear call to the government. If they do not allow Turkey’s minister to enter the Netherlands or they cannot go to the embassy, please suspend our relationship with the Netherlands. We will lend any support,” Kılıçdaroğlu told a rally in the southern province of Adana on March 12.
The CHP leader also said it was a common duty for all political parties to defend the country’s interests in the face of such incidents.
“That issue has nothing to do with the referendum [April 16 referendum on charter amendments], and ‘yes’ or ‘no’ votes. This is a national issue. It is every political party’s duty, regardless if you are rightist or leftist, to defend Turkey’s rights. We are ready to fulfill our duty,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The main opposition party had already announced that it was canceling the party’s overseas meetings for the April 16 referendum on the constitutional amendments due to the cancelation of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s flight permit to Rotterdam, which was followed by the Dutch refusal to permit Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya’s entrance to the consulate building in the port city.
“We have expressed on every occasion that Turkey does not deserve such behavior. Any kind of opinion should be expressed freely. Approaches that could especially turn into an international crisis cannot be accepted in any way,” party deputy chair Tekin Bingöl told state-run Anadolu Agency on March 11.
“As the CHP, we will not hold meetings abroad [ahead of] the referendum,” he added.
Bingöl also stated on March 12 that the recent ban on Sayan Kaya was not democratic.
“Such approaches by countries that talk about freedom and democracy are in no way democratic and they are unacceptable. I hope the Netherlands immediately steps back from this mistake,” Bingöl said.
Kılıçdaroğlu had previously called the Dutch move on Çavuşoğlu unacceptable.
“The foreign minister who represents Turkey goes everywhere in the world and talks. The decision that the Netherlands took can never be accepted,” he tweeted, adding that it violated both diplomacy and the basic principles of democracy.
From the opposition ranks, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also lent its support to the government in taking measures against the Dutch move on Turkish ministers.
“It is really not possible to accept the attitude against the ministers of the government. In that case, Turkey should take a stance against the Netherlands and other countries by taking more serious precautions. We have no worries about that. The MHP will side with the measures that will be taken and that have been planned. We are overtly declaring this. Our friends will show their own stance in European countries,” the party’s deputy head, Semih Yalçın, told private broadcaster NTV on March 12.
Yalçın also described the ban on Turkish ministers as a “medieval mentality.”
“This is a medieval mentality. That means the bankruptcy of a mentality that tries to impose European civilization on the world,” he said.
According to Yalçın, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli also called on citizens living abroad to democratically react against the ban on Turkish ministers by staging sit-ins.