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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    United Nations, NATO, EU and Council of Europe in Turkey Crisis Spin

    © AFP 2019 / Adem Altan
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    The Turkish government has said it will formally complain to the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), alleging the Netherlands has breached the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations over the Turkish referendum saga.

    Relations between Ankara and its EU neighbors have been under strain for over a year, but have been worsened over recent weeks ahead of the referendum being held in Turkey, April 16, under which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could emerge with more grip on power. 

    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. It follows protests against clampdowns on opposition and the media.

    Participants hold the latest copy of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet outside the headquarters in Ankara on October 31, 2016, during a protest against the detention of the newspaper's editor-in-chief and a dozen journalists and executives
    © AFP 2019 / ADEM ALTAN
    Participants hold the latest copy of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet outside the headquarters in Ankara on October 31, 2016, during a protest against the detention of the newspaper's editor-in-chief and a dozen journalists and executives

    However, attempts by Erdogan's supporters to hold rallies in support of him in the Netherlands — where there is a significant population of Turks eligible to vote — have been met with opposition from the Dutch Government, which has prevented Turkish ministers from speaking at them.

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

    Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was stopped by Dutch security forces, March 11, while on her way to the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam where she was due to meet representatives of the Turkish community.

    "What happened on that night is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention. All these three organizations [UN, Council of Europe and the OSCE] acknowledge the Vienna Convention as the basis of conducting diplomatic relations. They should have a say on the Netherlands' clear breach of this convention," a diplomatic source told the Hurriyet Daily News, March 13.

    Diplomatic Spat

    The situation worsened March 13, when Turkey banned the Dutch ambassador from returning to Turkey and all diplomatic ties between the two countries were called off.

    There is a similar standoff between Turkey and Germany after a series of similar rallies have been called off by the authorities, citing security issues.

    The Dutch are holding elections, March 15, and the issue of Islamophobia and immigration has played a central role, with right-wing leader Geert Wilders riding high in the polls, although Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has gained political points by his tough stand against the Turkish rallies.

    Dutch far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders
    © AFP 2019 / Martijn Beekman
    Dutch far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders

    ​The Netherlands, Germany and Turkey are all NATO partners and its Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, has called on Turkey and its EU allies to drop the political spat.

    "Robust debate is at the heart of our democracy but so is also mutual respect. Therefore, I will encourage all allies to show mutual respect, to be calm and have a measured approach… to defuse tensions and de-escalate the situation," Stoltenberg said at a news conference March 13.

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    Tags:
    EU-Turkey migrant deal, presidency, referendum, islamophobia, NATO, United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Jens Stoltenberg, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Germany, Europe, Turkey, Netherlands
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