Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the Dutch government “Nazi remnants” after it revoked landing permissions for a flight carrying Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs.
Mevlüt Cavusoglu was flying to Rotterdam in the Netherlands to speak at a pro-Erdogan rally to garner support for a “Yes” vote in a referendum which would give the Turkish president sweeping new powers.
Speaking at a similar rally in Istanbul, Erdogan responded by proposing similar retaliatory measures. Al Jazeera quoted him as saying: “You can stop our foreign minister’s plane all you want, let’s see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on.”
“They do not know politics or international diplomacy. These Nazi remnants, they are fascists.”
The mayor of Rotterdam says the rally was cancelled due to “risks to public order and security.” Austria, Germany, and Switzerland have also banned similar gatherings.
The Dutch government said they had been working with their Turkish counterparts to find a way of hosting Cavusoglu’s campaign, but in a statement posted to Facebook, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Before these talks were completed, Turkish authorities publicly threatened sanctions. That makes the search for a reasonable solution impossible.”
“These meetings should not contribute to tension in our society, and everyone who wants to organise a meeting should adhere to instructions of the authorities so that public order and safety can be guaranteed.”
“The Turkish government that rules in this matter does not want to respect that,” he said.
Before his flight, Cavusoglu had said sanctions against the Netherlands “would be heavy” if they cancelled his flight permit.
If Erdogan and his government win the April 16 referendum, an executive presidency would replace the existing parliamentary system of government and the office of the prime minister would be abolished.
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