Dutch police, Turkish protesters clash amid diplomatic row

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 12, 2017 at 8:58 AM
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March 12 (UPI) -- Riot police and protesters in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, clashed over a diplomatic dispute after the Dutch government prevented Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's flight from landing.

Protests occurred late Saturday in Rotterdam outside of the Turkish consulate, as well as in front of Dutch diplomatic missions in Turkey, including at the Netherlands' consulate in Istanbul. The protesters blocked entrances to diplomatic buildings and waved the Turkish flag.

In the port city of Rotterdam, security authorities, including riot police, used a water cannon to disperse about 1,000 people. Some police were on horseback.

In Istanbul, a protester entered the Dutch consulate's compound and replaced the flag of the Netherlands on the roof with the Turkish flag.

Cavusoglu was scheduled to speak at a rally in favor of a "Yes" vote on a referendum on constitutional changes that would give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power but the Dutch government revoked his plane's landing permission in Rotterdam.

The Dutch government said Cavusoglu's permissions were revoked due to "risks to public order and security" ahead of the Netherlands' general election on Wednesday but Erdogan cited the move as an example of "fascist practices."

Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Turkey's family minister, reached Rotterdam by road on Saturday ahead of her own planned event but she was denied entry at the consulate and police escorted her to the German border for deportation. The Turkish officials have threatened action against the Netherlands.

"If you are willing to sacrifice Turkish-Dutch relations, you will pay for it," Erdogan said on Sunday. "What's more, we're not done yet."

Erdogan doubled down on comments he made referring to the Dutch government as "Nazi remnants and fascists."

"I said Nazism is dead. I thought Nazism was over, but I was wrong. It turns out that Nazism is reawakening in the West," Erdogan added.

Cavusoglu on Sunday said "an apology from the Netherlands is not enough."

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