17:38 GMT +330 March 2017
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    People shout slogans during a protest in front of the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, March 12, 2017.

    Dutch-Turkish Tensions Mount as Erdogan Brands Netherlands 'Banana Republic'

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    The bitter war of words between the Netherlands and Turkey has escalated after Turkish ministers were banned from addressing rallies of Turkish citizens in Holland ahead of a controversial referendum in Turkey, which will give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan massive new powers.

    Relations between the two nations have taken a swift turn for the worse ahead of the referendum in Turkey, April 16, which could give enormous powers to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — increasing his presidential responsibilities and grip on the country.

    Supporters of the ruling AK Party wave Turkish flags during a campaign meeting for the April 16 constitutional referendum, in Ankara, Turkey, February 25, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ Umit Bektas
    Supporters of the ruling AK Party wave Turkish flags during a campaign meeting for the April 16 constitutional referendum, in Ankara, Turkey, February 25, 2017.

    The amendments to the constitution include the introduction of an executive presidency that would replace the existing parliamentary system of government and the abolition of the office of the Prime Minister.

    There are significant Turkish populations in both Germany and the Netherlands which are eligible to vote in the referendum leading to diplomatic tensions between all three countries, as Erdogan's minister attempt to address rallies in the Netherlands and Germany. 

    Dutch far right Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders campaigns for the 2017 Dutch election in Spijkenisse, a suburb of Rotterdam, Netherlands, February 18, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ Michael Kooren
    Dutch far right Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders campaigns for the 2017 Dutch election in Spijkenisse, a suburb of Rotterdam, Netherlands, February 18, 2017.

    Significantly, the Netherlands is holding a general election, March 15, with the right-wing anti-Islam Party for Freedom — led by Geert Wilders — riding high in the polls. Rallies of Turkish residents in the Netherlands have been canceled or members of Erdogan's government have been prevented from addressing them.

    "I call on all international organizations in Europe and elsewhere to impose sanctions on the Netherlands. Has Europe said anything? No. Why? Because they don't bite each other. The Netherlands are acting like a banana republic," Erdogan said March 12.

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, March 10, banned the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering his country, sparking a diplomatic row. Cavusoglu had planned to travel to the Netherlands to address rallies of Turkish citizens.

    However, Rutte made it clear that the foreign minister will not be welcome if his intention is to attend rallies to ramp up support for Erdogan.

    "It is not about him coming to the Netherlands. He can come to visit the Mauritshuis museum or see the tulips if there are any. We do not want him holding rallies," Rutte told a news conference in Brussels.

    ​The Netherlands is home to a large number of Turkish "guest workers," particularly in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague. Many of them are eligible to take part in the referendum.

    German Tensions

    The row has also affected relations between Turkey and Germany, where there is a significant Turkish population. A string of rallies over the referendum in Germany have been canceled — ostensibly for security reasons — bringing accusations from Turkey that Germany is attempting to interfere with Turkish democracy. Erdogan accused Germany of using "Nazi tactics" to prevent the rallies.

    "It cannot be justified. Nazi comparisons only lead to misery. This needs to stop," Merkel said in a speech to the Bundestag, March 9.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    political activism, presidency, referendum, rally, Turkish referendum, Dutch election, Geert Wilders, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Angela Merkel, Mark Rutte, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Germany, Europe, Turkey, Netherlands
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    • Mikhas
      Wow, these medieval jihadi Orc' s is not going to win a beauty contest any time soon i tell you that and the combined IQ in the first picture must be something like 50, but it somewhat explains why 80% of the Turks support ISIS.
    • avatar
      vigilante
      It's ironical how Erdogan calls Holland and Germany Nazi remnants, when he is the one who is jailing the opposition and blocking the press and instauring a police state in Turkey. Erdogan is an edulcorated version of Hitler. The EU should stand firm against him and what he represents.
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