Turkish minister to go to Rotterdam by land after foreign minister blocked

Mar 12, 2017, 01:06

A spokesperson for the Dutch government said the move was taken because of "risks to public order and security" caused by the proposed visit by Mevlut Cavusoglu to Rotterdam.

Turkey has now summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires for an explanation.

The Netherlands has barred Turkey's foreign minister from landing in Rotterdam in a row over Ankara's political campaigning among Turkish emigres. According to local media, her vehicle was stopped before it could reach the port city. She was not arrested.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks were made at a rally in Istanbul, as he now hopes to secure a "Yes" vote in a referendum over whether he be granted increased powers.

Tensions increase between the two countries as the rally dispute between Turkey and the Netherlands unfolds.

A statement from the Netherlands says the flight was refused because of "public order and security concerns".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the Dutch "Nazi remnants and fascists".

"Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on, let's see how your flights will land in Turkey", he said.

"They are the vestiges of the Nazis, they are fascists", Erdogan told an Istanbul rally.

When Erdoğan first made his Nazi remarks, Germany hit out angrily and said that there are "lines that must not be crossed".

The latest spat comes just days before the Dutch general election.

The campaign has been dominated by issues of identity, with anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders set to make strong gains.

Cavusoglu said on Saturday he would fly anyway, and had been expected to appear at the Turkish consulate, as he had done when city authorities in Hamburg banned him from speaking last week.

The Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu laughs during a visit of the booth of Turkey at the tourism fair ITB in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. "We were not even offered water", she told the NTV television channel.

German Prime Minster Angela Merkel condemned the comments, calling them "sad" and "misplaced".

Other European countries, including Austria, Germany and Switzerland, have banned similar gatherings where Turkish officials were due to speak in favour of a Yes vote in the referendum.

The legal opinion criticized the Turkish parliament's approval of the amendments when several deputies from the second-largest opposition party were in jail. But of course what happens the day after that ...

The Council of Europe panel's legal opinion has no binding power over Turkey, which joined the 47-nation body in 1950.