Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that the Netherlands will “pay the price” for its “shameless” treatment of Turkey’s ministers after the European country barred the flight of the Turkish top diplomat and deported the country's family minister.
“Hey Holland! If you are sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday, you will pay a price,” said the Turkish leader in a strongly-worded speech at an event in Kocaeli Province, near Istanbul, on Sunday, referring to the Netherlands’ mid-March election.
His remarks came a day after the Netherlands prevented the landing of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s plane in the city of Rotterdam, citing public order and security concerns. The move infuriated Ankara and prompted the Turkish government to summon the Dutch charge d'affaires to Foreign Ministry in protest.
The Turkish minister was 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 prime minister and giving more executive powers to the currently largely ceremonial position of the president.
Later on Saturday, Dutch authorities also blocked a convoy carrying Turkey’s family and social policy minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam. Her travel was aimed at filling in for Cavusoglu. Dutch police detained her, branded her an “undesirable alien,” and declared her “persona non grata” amid a police intervention against Turks, who gathered in front of the consulate building in Rotterdam.
On Sunday, Turkey, in a seemingly retaliatory move, sealed off the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul over “security” reasons, and asked off-duty Dutch ambassador in Ankara, who was on leave, not to return “for a while.”
Meanwhile, people in Istanbul protested outside the Dutch consulate for the second consecutive day to vent their anger, and some of the protesters briefly took down the Dutch flag at the consulate in Istanbul and replaced it with a Turkish one.
Erdogan further said Dutch leaders would learn "what diplomacy is," adding that what happened to his ministers “cannot remain unanswered.”
He reiterated his previous assertion that what Dutch authorities had done against his ministers was rooted in “Nazism” and “fascism.”
“I said Nazism is dead. I thought Nazism was over, but I was wrong. It turns out that Nazism is up on its feet in the West,” he further said, adding that “they will pay the price of treating my citizens, my foreign minister... in an impudent way.”
The Turkish leader also called on international organizations to impose sanctions on the Netherlands.
'Ankara will take steps until Amsterdam apologizes'
Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Ankara would continue to take steps against Amsterdam until it apologizes over the current diplomatic row, warning that Turkey would take further measures against the European country.
“There will be consequences. We will not leave this unanswered. Apology will not be enough. We have already started to retaliate. We told the Dutch ambassador, who left our country two days ago, not to come back. He cannot come back,” he told reporters, ahead a public appearance at the Congress Hall in the French northeastern city of Metz.
“We will be taking other steps as well. We've already started to plan them. We will definitely take steps against the Netherlands and they will apologize. We will continue to take these steps until Netherlands apologizes because this incident cannot be justified,” he added.
The Turkish foreign minister also called the incident “racist, xenophobic and anti-Islamic.”
Dutch PM says he won’t apologize to Ankara
Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has ruled out apologizing to Ankara for banning Turkish ministers from joining pro-Ankara rallies in his country, noting, however, that he hoped a diplomatic row could be defused.
Rutte said he would do his best to “de-escalate” the growing diplomatic confrontation with Ankara, describing it as the worst his country had experienced in years.
"I've never experienced this before, but we want to be the more prudent party,” he said, adding “If they escalate we will have to respond, but we will do everything in our power to de-escalate.”
The Dutch premier, however, noted that Ankara should apologize for comparing the Dutch to Nazis, warning that if Turkey keeps on going on its current path, then Amsterdam would be forced to consider its response.
Denmark postpones Turkish prime minister’s visit
In a related development on Sunday, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called on his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yilirim, to delay a planned visit to Denmark, which had been scheduled for March, because of "tensions" between Ankara and the Netherlands.
"Such a visit could not take place in light of the current attacks by Turkey against the Netherlands. Therefore I proposed to my Turkish colleague to postpone our meeting," Rasmussen said in a statement.