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Netherlands Closes its Doors Facing Turks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riot police clash with demonstrators in the streets near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam in the early hours of Sunday. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Ankara – The Netherlands decided to close its doors in front of Turkish officials visiting the country for political campaigning among Turkish émigrés.

Dutch authorities canceled 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 which will see a constitutional amendment.

Turkey is officially awaiting the referendum set to take place next April 16 after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved a constitutional reform package, paving the way for the vote on increasing powers to the presidency.

Cavusoglu said on Saturday the action against Turkish ministers was against the referendum in Turkey.

As a response to the Dutch ban, Ankara alluded to enforce new measures against the Netherlands.

President Erdogan launched a fierce attack on Dutch authorities, describing their behavior as “Nazis remnants and fascists.”

Erdogan said his country would take similar measures to reply on the Dutch ban.

“How will your country’s [diplomatic] flights come here now after not granting permission to our foreign minister?” Erdogan asked the Dutch authorities.

Later on Saturday, Turkish authorities closed off Dutch diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul, while the Dutch ambassador, who is on leave abroad, was requested “not return for a while.”

Later, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte described Erdogan’s comparing the Dutch to the Nazis as “way out of line.”

Rutte told journalists during campaigning for the March 15 election: “It’s a crazy remark of course.”

Germany was the first to take such measures against Turkish ministers visiting the country for political campaigning. Austria and The Netherlands then followed to cancel similar rallies organized by the Turkish societies.