The Latest: Turkey imposes sanctions on the Netherlands
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on tension between Turkey and Western Europe (all times local):
Turkey says it is halting all high-level political discussions with the Netherlands in the wake of the Dutch government’s decision to bar two cabinet ministers from campaigning in the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said during a news conference following a weekly cabinet meeting that Ankara also is closing its air space to Dutch diplomats until the Netherlands meets Turkish requests.
Kurtulmus also says the Dutch ambassador to Turkey, who was traveling when the diplomatic row started, won’t be allowed to return.
He says Turkey’s government plans to advise parliament to withdraw from a Dutch-Turkish friendship group.
Kurtulmus says the political sanctions will apply until the Netherlands takes steps to “redress” its actions.
He said: “There is a crisis and a very deep one. We didn’t create this crisis or bring to this stage.”
The Dutch foreign affairs minister has reacted laconically to the Turkish president’s announcement that two of his cabinet ministers will apply to the European human rights court over their treatment in the Netherlands.
The Dutch government barred Turkey’s foreign minister from landing in the Netherlands on Saturday and then removed the family affairs minister from the country when she drove to the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.
The ministers wanted to speak to rallies of Turkish voters about next month’s referendum on constitutional changes to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Monday he had confidence in the Dutch position should the court accept Turkey’s case.
He added that Turkey “is more or less at the top of the list when it comes to convictions” by the rights court.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says two of his cabinet ministers will apply to the European human rights court over their treatment in the Netherlands.
In an interview with A Haber television on Monday, Erdogan said the appeals would be made even though he didn’t think the court would rule in favor of Turkey.
He also advised Turks living elsewhere in Europe not to vote for anti-Turkish parties. The Netherlands has a national election on Wednesday.
Erdogan also slammed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for siding with the Netherlands in the dispute over Turkish ministers’ campaign rallies in Europe.
Merkel said Monday that the Netherlands has her “full support and solidarity” after Turkey’s president used Nazi comparisons to criticize Dutch treatment of Turkish ministers.
Erdogan repeated those terms again in the interview, accusing the Netherlands of “Nazism” and “Neo-Nazism.”
Turkey’s minister in charge of European Union affairs says his country should consider reviewing its migration deal with the EU and relax controls on people reaching Europe over land.
Omer Celik’s comments, reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency, came amid tensions with the Netherlands and other European countries over Turkish ministers traveling abroad to court Turkish citizens’ votes in an upcoming referendum.
Turkey agreed last year to work to keep migrants from crossing into the EU in return for funds to help it deal with some 3 million refugees.
Anadolu quoted Celik as saying the EU had not kept its side of the bargain.
He added: “In my opinion, the issue of the land passages should be reviewed.”
However, Celik said Turkey should maintain controls to prevent sea crossings that claimed hundreds of lives.
The European Union has warned that it will specifically review the outcome of Turkey’s April 16 referendum in the light of criticism from Europe’s biggest human right organization.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says that the referendum result will be “assessed in light of Turkey’s obligations as an EU candidate country.” Negotiations on EU membership have been in a freeze for years with little hope of making any progress in the near future.
Last Friday, a committee from the Council of Europe human rights organizations raised serious concerns about the changes the referendum wants to push through, centering more powers in the hand of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The surge in tensions from the diplomatic dispute between the Netherlands and Turkey appears to have spread online, with a handful of Dutch websites vandalized with pro-Turkish imagery and slogans.
Few if any of the sites appeared to be high-profile. One, for example, belonged to an Argentine grill in Voorschoten, a suburb of the Dutch city of Leiden. A person who answered the phone at the restaurant hung up the phone when asked about the incident.
The group which claimed responsibility didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has welcomed support from Germany’s leader in his country’s diplomatic row with Turkey that boiled over this weekend.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that the Netherlands has her “full support and solidarity” after Turkey’s president used Nazi comparisons to criticize Dutch treatment of Turkish ministers.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Dutch “Nazi remnants” after a Turkish minister was escorted out of the country less than a day after Turkey’s foreign minister was denied entry. He already had accused Germany of “Nazi practices,” drawing a rebuke last week from Merkel.
She said that the Nazi comparisons are “completely unacceptable.”
Speaking to reporters on Monday in Rotterdam, Rutte said, “I was very happy with the comments Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, made today about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Netherlands on this and also renouncing what President Erdogan said about the Second World War.”
The European Union has called on Turkey to cease “excessive statements” after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made several Nazi comparisons with EU member states Germany and the Netherlands in recent days.
EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas said: “The EU calls on Turkey to refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further acerbate the situation.”
Schinas said that “matters of concern can only be resolved through open and direct communication channels.”
He added that it is “essential to avoid further escalation and find ways to calm down the situation.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged all members of the alliance “to show mutual respect, to be calm and have a measured approach” as tensions mount between Turkey and the Netherlands.
He said Monday that “it is important that we now focus on everything that unites us” such as common threats and challenges like the so-called Islamic State group.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Netherlands has her “full support and solidarity” after Turkey’s president used Nazi comparisons to criticize Dutch treatment of Turkish ministers.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Dutch “Nazi remnants” after a Turkish minister escorted out of the country less than a day after Turkey’s foreign minister was denied entry. He already had accused Germany of “Nazi practices,” drawing a rebuke last week from Merkel.
Merkel said Monday her demand that Turkey stop using such parallels also applies to the Netherlands and other countries.
She said that the Nazi comparisons are “completely unacceptable.” Merkel added at a news conference in Munich: “The Netherlands has my full support and solidarity.”
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus says the Netherlands will be forced to apologize to Turkey for preventing two ministers from holding campaign rallies.
Kurtulmus said Monday Turkey would give the “necessary response” after the Netherlands escorted the family affairs minister out of the country and denied the foreign minister permission to land. He did not elaborate on the measures Turkey planned.
Kurtulmus told a business meeting in Istanbul that “you will see that in the end they will come to the point where they will apologize.”
The deputy prime minister described the ministers’ treatment as “footsteps of the far-right, of the neo-fascism and neo-Nazism that has been on the rise in Europe in the past five or six years.”
The German government is calling on Turkey to stop using Nazi comparisons in criticizing the behavior of the Netherlands.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Dutch “Nazi remnants” after a Turkish minister escorted out of the country less than a day after Turkey’s foreign minister was denied entry. Erdogan already had accused Germany of “Nazi practices,” drawing a rebuke last week from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday that the chancellor “means not only that they should stop talking that way about Germany, but of course also about other European countries.”
He added that “the Dutch suffered badly under the Nazi regime, and it is outrageous to want to accuse them of being close to such ideology.”
The Dutch government had no immediate reaction to news that Turkey had summoned its top diplomat to protest the treatment of the two ministers and of Dutch-Turkish protesters outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam in the early hours of Sunday morning.
On Sunday night, Dutch riot police were called in to end a protest by Turks in Amsterdam and arrested 13 people, said spokeswoman Marjolein Koek.
Media showed police with dogs and a water cannon being used to disperse protesters in western Amsterdam.
The Dutch government also has updated its travel advisory for Turkey, a popular vacation destination, warning travelers about the heightened diplomatic tensions. “Be alert and avoid gatherings and busy places throughout Turkey,” the advisory warns.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the Netherlands’ top diplomat to formally protest its treatment of a Turkish minister in that country over the weekend as well as what it said was “disproportionate” use of force against demonstrators in a protest that ensued.
The Ministry said the Dutch Embassy’s charge d’affaires, Daan Feddo Huisinga, was called to the ministry where a senior official handed him two formal protest notes.
The first protested what it said practices that were contrary to international conventions, diplomatic courtesy, and diplomatic immunities and requested a written apology from the Dutch authorities, a ministry statement said. Turkey also reserved its right to seek compensation, the Dutch diplomat was told.
The second note protested the treatment of Turkish citizens who had gathered outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, saying “disproportionate force” had been used against “people using their right to peaceful gatherings. It added that Turkish nationals had been subjected to “inhumane and derogatory” treatment and called for those responsible to be identified and punished.
It was the third time that the Dutch diplomat has been summoned since tensions broke out between the two countries after two ministers were prevented from campaigning in the Netherlands.