Turkish Minister Escorted Out Of Netherlands As Diplomatic Row Escalates

The development comes less than a day after Turkey’s foreign minister was denied entry, prompting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call the Dutch “Nazi remnants”.

The stand-off 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 an extraordinary stand-off with armed police. She was later sent under escort back to Germany.

As she was approaching the German border, Ms Kaya wrote: “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 Mr 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 Ms 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 first withdrew the landing rights of the foreign minister because of objections to his intention to attend a rally in Rotterdam for a referendum on constitutional reforms to expand Mr Erdogan’ 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 referendum.

Mr 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”.

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

He told a rally in Istanbul: “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.” Mr Cavusoglu also referred to possible sanctions.

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

In the evening, a Turkish foreign ministry official said the Dutch Embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul were closed off for 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 does not 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 on 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,” Mr Yildirim said.