Turkey, Netherlands face deepens as countries suspend diplomatic ties

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A man reads a newspaper bearing a headline concerning diplomatic tensions between Turkey and The Netherlands, which translates as "What a Barbarism" in Istanbul on March 13, 2017. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the Netherlands would pay for blocking his ministers from holding rallies to win support in a referendum on expanding his powers, as a crisis escalated with Turkey's key EU partners.Erdogan also repeated hugely controversial accusations that the Netherlands -- occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II -- was behaving like fascists in its treatment of Turkish ministers. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkey will not allow the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return to Turkey and has suspended high-level diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus who announced this in Ankara noted that the escalation of disagreement between the two countries necessitated the development.

Turkey’s action came after the Netherlands’ refusal to allow Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to visit for a political rally over the weekend.

Cavusoglu had demanded answers from the Dutch government over why they blocked him.

“Why this time; am I a terrorist? Are the Turks living in this country terrorists?” Cavusoglu asked in an interview Monday with CNN’s “Connect the World.”

The decision to refuse Cavusoglu permission to fly to Rotterdam to address the rally over the weekend was followed by a refusal by the Dutch to let the Turkish family affairs minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kayafrom, enter the Turkish consulate in the city.

She was escorted out of the country.

Violent clashes in Rotterdam followed the decision to halt the two ministers from addressing the rallies.

Cavusoglu said he had been given no explanation from the Dutch as to why they had public order and safety concerns over his visit, the reason they gave for blocking it.

“Is there any one single Turkish Turk radicalised? They say no. So what is the security problem then? They don’t give me any detail; I am the foreign minister of Turkey.

“I am not a terrorist. This is just excuse, unfortunately, to hide the real reasons,” he said.

Cavusoglu suggested that a rise in racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia in the Netherlands and other European countries is to blame.

He also said the Netherlands and other European countries wish to “obstruct” the yes campaign for a referendum on the Turkish constitution to be held on April 16.

The move would grant new powers to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cavusoglu was visiting Rotterdam to rally support among Turkish expatriates in the Netherlands, who can vote in the referendum.

After the foreign minister’s visit to Rotterdam was blocked, Erdogan reacted angrily, comparing the Dutch government to Nazis.

In response, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Erdogan’s remarks were inflammatory and demanded an apology.

The Netherlands lost more than 200,000 of its citizens when it was occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II.

Read more: CNN

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