Dutch-Turkish tension rises over diplomatic row


Diplomatic tensions between the Netherlands and Turkey escalated on Saturday night after a convoy of Turkey’s Minister of Family and Social Policies Betul Sayan Kaya was halted for hours close to the Turkish General Consulate in Rotterdam.

“I am being taken to Germany via the Nijmegen border with democratic and humanitarian values trampled underfoot,” Kaya said Sunday on her official Twitter, “I condemn this on behalf of all my citizens.”

“The whole world should take a stance against such a fascist implementation in the name of democracy,” she added.

Kaya entered the country at the German-Dutch border in a convoy by car and drove straight to the consulate in Rotterdam. Near the consulate, her car was stopped by the police.

Around 1:00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT), the Turkish official left her car and was moved to another car. She was moved back to Germany under the Dutch police’ escort. A team of the Dutch Special Intervention Service arrived at the consulate before midnight and assisted the intervention.

Kaya wanted to visit the Turkish consulate to speak at a rally for a “yes” vote in the forthcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey.

Rotterdam’s Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said at a press conference at around 2 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) that the minister was seen as an “unwanted stranger,” therefore she has to leave the country.

The mayor also said he felt “terribly” misled after he had asked the Turkish consul-general whether someone would come to the consulate.

“He lied to us and he has called on people to come to the consulate. And they even drove with different convoys to mislead us.”

Earlier on Saturday, the diplomatic row came to a high when the Dutch government withdrew the landing rights for the plane of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who had the same plan.

“The Netherlands is violating all international laws, conventions and human rights by not letting me enter Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam,” Kaya said on twitter.

“This treatment against a woman minister can never be accepted”, the minister wrote.

The support of Turkish-Dutch citizens, holding Turkish flags and chanting slogans like “democracy,” “Erdogan” and “Turkey” near the consulate, grew to hundreds of people during the evening.

As the crowd gathered, Aboutaleb extended the Emergency Ordinance to the whole center of Rotterdam, forbidding all people, except the residents or the people who really have to be there, from entering these regions.

Earlier on Saturday night, the mayor issued an Emergency Ordinance in the streets around the Turkish consulate and the consul’s house.

Around 10 p.m. local time (1100 GMT), the Dutch military police started to clear some streets, without major incidents occurring so far, although Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported a rising tension.

After the Turkish minister left, some protesters clashed with the military police. The situation has been calmed down, said Aboutaleb.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a interview with local television TV24 on Sunday that the domestic politics are to blame for the crisis between Turkey and Netherlands.

The “huge diplomatic scandal” was a failure of Turkey’s European allies to address the issue, Yildirim said in a statement posted on the prime ministry’s website.

In Turkey, hundreds of people waving flags flocked to the Dutch missions in Ankara and Istanbul to protest. Turkish Foreign Ministry asked duty-off Dutch ambassador in Ankara who was on leave not to return ‘for a while.’

The Turkish government planned to campaign in the Netherlands, as in other European countries, to urge Dutch citizens with the Turkish nationality to vote for a stronger position for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an April 16 referendum.

The Dutch government, saying “the public order was at stake”, objected the campaign and managed to prevent Turkish officials from entering the nation.

An official statement issued after Aboutaleb’s press conference said that the Netherlands does not want to cooperate with a Turkish political campaign in its territory, adding it “still advocates holding talks with Turkey.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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