In Turkey / Türkiye

RT.com, March 12, 2017  (with video news report and extensive social media reporting at original weblink)

Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was detained by the Dutch police at the consulate before being further escorted to Germany

Dutch police disperse pro-Erdogan rally in Rotterdam on March 11, 2017 (photo by Emmanuel Dunand, AFP)

Turkey’s family affairs minister has been escorted to the Dutch-German border as crowds of Turkish protesters rallied at the consulate in Rotterdam. The minister was earlier prevented from staging a pro-Erdogan rally outside the diplomatic premises.

Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was detained by the Dutch police at the consulate before being further escorted to Germany, RTL News reported.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued a statement, calling the visit of the Turkish minister “irresponsible” and the rhetoric by Turkish authorities “unacceptable.”

Pro-Erdogan protesters in Rotterdam on March 11, 2017 (photo by Emmanuel Dunand, AFP)

“In mutual contact with Turkey, Netherlands has repeatedly made it clear that public order and security in our country should not be compromised,” Rutte said, adding that the Dutch government repeatedly told its Turkish counterparts that Kaya is “not welcome in the Netherlands.”

“Minister Kaya is on her way to Germany, accompanied by police. Her car is being driven back. This also applies to her guards and employees,” Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told news agency NOS.

In a televised statement, Aboutaleb accused Turkish officials at the general consulate of “misleading” him on the forthcoming visit of Kaya. The mayor claimed that the Turkish consul general told him nothing had been planned for that day in the consulate.

“He outright lied,” Aboutaleb said, adding that he was also offended by the comparison of the Dutch authorities with fascists, made earlier by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “He forgets I’m the mayor of Rotterdam, which was bombed by the Nazis,” Aboutaleb said.

Reporters live tweeting from the scene said that after the detention was announced, the minister remained in her armored car until a truck arrived to tow the vehicle. She then reportedly came out of her car to be escorted away in another vehicle.

Kaya responded to the detention by accusing the Dutch of “tyranny and oppression,” unlawful treatment and violation of human rights and freedoms on her Twitter account.

She later added some strong words, tweeting: “In the face of this fascist practice, the world needs to take a stand in the name of Democracy! Such treatment of a woman is unacceptable.”

“We were stopped at the Consulate General of Rotterdam 30 meters away and were not allowed to enter,” Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya wrote earlier on Twitter, adding that by denying her access to the building “Netherlands is violating all international laws, conventions and human rights.”

Earlier, with mass rallies still ongoing at the consulate, the Dutch police asked Kaya to promptly leave the country for Germany, accompanied by a police convoy. However, the minister reportedly rejected the request, after police refused to let her address the protesters, NOS correspondent Robert Bas reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Yıldırım said the conduct of Dutch authorities towards the deported minister was a mistake, as he accused them of “violating all diplomatic and international rules” by disregarding her immunity in a statement Saturday, as cited by Haber. He urged the members of the Turkish community to stay calm and argued that the best response from them would be a positive result in the constitutional referendum in April.

Hundreds of agitated Turkish protesters remained in central Rotterdam despite reports that the action at the consulate was over by the time the car with Kaya left the scene. Riot police cordons could be seen on social media livestreams as occasional rocks and bottles landed near officers. Police later deployed water cannon to break up the rally at the Turkish consulate. Protesters were seen running away from the scene.

Several hundreds of pro-Turkish demonstrators have gathered outside the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam to protest the actions of the Dutch authorities.

The demonstrators were waving Turkish national flags and standing near the consulate entrance. As the crowd grew, the Dutch police took additional security measures at the scene. The police officers put up railings to keep anyone from getting too close and deployed additional forces to the consulate, according to AP.

Channels CNN Turk and NTV earlier reported that the convoy of Turkey’s family minister was stopped at the Netherlands border.

The incident involving the Turkish family minister comes just hours after Dutch authorities revoked authorization for the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight, hours after he had warned that Turkey would retaliate if his visit was canceled. Earlier, Cavusoglu insisted that he would go ahead with his visit to Rotterdam even if local Dutch authorities did not agree to his taking part in a rally promoting a change in Turkey’s constitution.

Cavusoglu intended to campaign at the rally to drum up votes in favor of an April referendum that would give the Turkish president new powers, but Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, banned the Turkish official from speaking in public in the city late Friday.

Meanwhile, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s ultranationalist MHP party, Semih Yalçın, has claimed the Turks were ready to stage a protest at the airport the Turkish Foreign Minister was supposed to land at. “Our friends have now started a sit-in at the airport where the Foreign Ministry was planning to land,” Yalçın said, adding that the aim is to demonstrate a “reaction to Europe.”

Yalçın has also accused the European country of a “medieval mentality.”

MHP’s chairman Devlet Bahceli has discussed the sit-in with Head of Confederation of Turks in Europe, Cemal Cetin, Anadolu Agency reports. They decided the protest would be “in line with laws in the European country.”

Meanwhile, Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders has also been adding fuel to the fire, tweeting that the Turkish minister should “go away and never come back” and “take all her Turkish fans” as she leaves.

Related reading:
Dutch embassy & consulate in Turkey closed off as diplomatic row escalates, RT.com, March 11, 2017

Furious Erdogan supporters rally in Rotterdam streets, police break up protests, RT.com, March 12, 2017  (with video reports)


Turkey-Dutch relations shatter after Turkish visits banned

By Mike Corder. Raf Casert and Zeynep Bilginsoy, Associated Press, March 11, 2017

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — The escalating dispute between NATO allies Turkey and the Netherlands hit a new low Sunday, with a Turkish minister escorted out of the country less than a day after Turkey’s foreign minister was denied entry, prompting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call the Dutch “Nazi remnants.”

Pro-Erdogan crowd outside Dutch consulate in Istanbul early Sunday morning March 12, 2017 (photo by Emrah Gurel, AP)

The diplomatic clash was over plans by Turkish government officials to campaign in the Netherlands for a referendum back home. Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya had arrived in the country from Germany but was prevented from entering Turkey’s diplomatic compound in Rotterdam, setting up a standoff with armed police. She was later sent under escort back to Germany.

As she was approaching the German border, Kaya wrote that “the whole world must take action against this fascist practice! Such a treatment against a woman minister cannot be accepted.”

The Dutch were equally angry and Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Erdogan’s Nazi comment “a crazy remark,” while Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said the Turkish consul general was guilty of a “scandalous deception” after he allegedly denied that the minister was coming despite government warnings to stay away.

“He lied to us and didn’t tell the truth,” the mayor said. “The deception worsened when they drove in different columns to Rotterdam” to try to fool Dutch authorities.

Hundreds of pro-Turkey protesters scuffled with police into the night in Rotterdam.

The diplomatic clash with Kaya came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was barred from landing in the Netherlands on Saturday and Turkish officials closed off the Dutch Embassy and called its ambassador no longer welcome.

The Dutch barred Cavusoglu from entering because of objections to his intention to attend a rally in Rotterdam for a referendum on constitutional reforms to expand Erdogan’s powers, which the Dutch see as a step backward from democracy. Turkish officials have been campaigning in various European cities with Turkish populations before the April 16 vote.

The Dutch government said it withdrew landing permission because of “risks to public order and security,” leading Cavusoglu to say: “So is the foreign minister of the Turkish republic a terrorist?”

Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul that the Dutch “do not know politics or international diplomacy.” He compared them to “Nazi remnants, they are fascists.”

Erdogan had earlier this month already compared German policies to “Nazi practices,” after German municipalities canceled several campaign events by Turkish officials last weekend.

He told a rally in Istanbul Saturday: “You can stop our foreign minister’s plane all you want, let’s see how your (diplomatic) planes will come to Turkey from now on.”

In the evening, a Turkish foreign ministry official who spoke on customary anonymity said the Dutch Embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul were closed off because of security reasons.

The official said entries and exits were closed to the two locations. Similar precautions were taken at the Dutch charge d’affaires’ house and the ambassador’s residence.

The Turkish foreign ministry also said that it doesn’t want to see the Dutch ambassador, who is out of the country, return to his post for some time because of the increasingly divisive dispute with the Netherlands.

In a written statement early Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country will strongly respond to the Dutch actions.

“There will be a stronger reprisal against the unacceptable treatment toward Turkey and ministers who have diplomatic immunity,” Yildirim said.

Cavusoglu said he arrived in Metz, France, late Saturday, where he was expected to address crowds on Sunday.

The diplomatic row comes at a time when relations between Turkey and the European Union, of which the Netherlands is a member, have been steadily worsening, especially in the wake of Erdogan’s actions since last year’s failed coup. More than 41,000 people have been arrested and 100,000 civil servants fired from their jobs.

Cavusoglu said that “unfortunately Europe and several countries in Europe, the Netherlands being in the first place, they are reminiscent of the Europe of World War II. The same racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, we see all the crimes against humanity in today’s politics.”

The dispute also comes just days before the Netherlands goes to the polls next Wednesday for the lower house of Parliament. The campaign has been dominated by issues of identity, with anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders set to make strong gains.

Earlier Saturday, Cavusoglu said “Wilders is racist, fascist, Nazi, like a Nazi.” Citing comments that Wilders wanted action against Muslims, Cavusoglu said: “What are you going to do? Are you going to kill them, burn them or what?”

Zeynep Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul.

 

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