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Turkish-European Crisis Worsens | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A protester waves a Turkish national flag during a demonstration in front of the Netherlands consulate in Istanbul. (AFP)

Ankara – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on Sunday to make the Netherlands “pay the price” after banning two Turkish ministers from attending a rally in Rotterdam to campaign for next month’s referendum on a new law to increase the presidential powers.

In two separate speeches delivered on Sunday, Erdogan lashed out at the Dutch decision in what he described as “Nazi remnants and fascist” behavior.

In a response to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who called on Turkey to “de-escalate tension between both countries,” Erdogan said: “You still have not paid the price to speak about repairing relations with Turkey.”

The Turkish president also said: “Netherlands acted like a banana republic as opposed to an EU member and a state of law.”

On Saturday, Dutch authorities cancelled Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight permit and blocked Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam by land.

Both Cavusoglu and Sayan Kaya were banned from attending a rally organized Saturday by the Turkish society in Rotterdam to promote as many “yes” votes ahead of the referendum, set to take place next April 16 after Erdogan approved a constitutional reform package, paving the way for the vote on increasing powers to the presidency.

Although tension remained high between both countries, some officials from both sides tried to de-escalate the standoff.

Rutte said his government will do all it can to prevent deteriorating relations with Ankara.
On Sunday, Dutch authorities sealed off the Netherlands embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul in what was described as “security measures,” and blocked all roads leading to both buildings.

Earlier, angry Turks tried to encircle the headquarters of both Dutch diplomatic missions.

On Sunday Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen postponed a visit scheduled for next weekend by the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim due to the growing tension between Ankara and the Netherlands.

In the French city of Metz, Cavusoglu said the Dutch government should offer an apology for its decisions on Saturday.

However, the Dutch government said it would not apologize for banning Turkish ministers from joining pro-Ankara rallies in Holland.