Binali Yildirim

Turkish PM vows ‘harshest’ retaliation amid tensions with Europe

Press TV- Turksih Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has vowed to take the most severe retaliatory measures after the Netherlands barred the flight of the Turkish top diplomat and deported the country’s family minister.

“This situation has been protested in the strongest manner by our side, and it has been conveyed to Dutch authorities that there will be retaliation in the harshest ways … We will respond in kind to this unacceptable behavior,” Yildirim said in a statement on Sunday.

Dutch bans

On Saturday, the Netherlands prevented the landing of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s plane, citing public order and security concerns.

He was set to take part in a rally aimed at gathering support for a constitutional referendum in Turkey due on April 16. The vote is aimed at abolishing the office of the premier and giving more executive powers to the currently largely ceremonial position of the president.

This combo photo shows Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) and Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya.

Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was expected to fill in for Cavusoglu, who was unable to speak to the Turkish community outside the consulate in Rotterdam.

Dutch police, however, stopped Kaya just outside the mission and after several hours of negotiations escorted her back to the German border and expelled her.

Turkish response, Dutch reaction

Ankara summoned the Netherlands’ charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry in protest. It also sealed off the Dutch Embassy in Ankara and Consulate in Istanbul over “security” reasons.

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Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Dutch “do not know politics or international diplomacy,” adding “these Nazi remnants, they are fascists.”

Demonstrators with banners of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gather outside the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, March 11, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte censured Erdogan’s comments as “crazy,” saying they were “way out of line.”

Barred Turkish ministers protest

Speaking upon his return at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Cavusoglu denounced the Dutch government’s decision to withdraw his landing permit as “fascist” and “racist.”

Kaya, who was also outraged at her deportation, took to Twitter and said, “The world must take a stance in the name of democracy against this fascist act! This behavior against a female minister can never be accepted.”

Cavusoglu in France

Later on Saturday, Cavusoglu tweeted that he had traveled to the French city of Metz “to have a meeting with our Consuls General and to gather with our citizens.”

French officials said they had authorized a planned Sunday rally, with Cavusoglu and local Turkish population in attendance, unless the event represents a threat to public order.

Rotterdam scuffles

Early on Sunday, Dutch police used dogs, batons and water cannon to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered outside the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam to protest.

The scuffles came at a time when Erdogan is seeking to garner the support of Turks living in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, to help clinch victory at the upcoming constitutional referendum.

Hamburg rally backs ‘No’ vote

On Saturday, a demonstration was held in the German city of Hamburg backing a ‘No’ vote in the Turkish referendum.

Some 1,500 protesters, predominantly from the city’s Turkish community, took part in the event and shouted slogans such as “Fascist Erdogan.”

They further held banners and placards reading, “No to dictators,” “Hayir (No in Turkish)” and “No to one man dictatorship.”