Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has labeled Dutch authorities “Nazi remnants, fascists” in reaction to the government’s withdrawal of permission for Turkey’s foreign minister to land to speak at a pro-Erdogan rally in Rotterdam.
Dutch officials revoked authorization for Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight to land in Holland on Saturday, just hours after the foreign minister had warned that Turkey would retaliate by imposing sanctions on the Netherlands.
The move provoked a harsh reaction from Turkey’s president, who criticized Holland’s authorities as “Nazi remnants, fascists,” as quoted by the Hurriyet Daily. He also warned that Dutch diplomats will, in turn, face difficulties in traveling to Turkey.
Responding to Erdogan’s ‘Nazi’ comparison, Dutch PM Mark Rutte said that, while he understood Turkey’s anger over the controversy, the comments are “way out of line,” as quoted by Reuters.
Turkey summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to its foreign ministry on Saturday over the controversy, according to sources cited by Reuters.
Cavusoglu had planned to attend a political rally in Rotterdam to drum up support among the city’s Turkish residents for Erdogan’s proposed overhaul of Turkey’s constitution, which would dramatically increase the president’s powers.
Local authorities in Germany recently canceled several similar political rallies for Turkish ex-pats as well, which also drew strong criticism from both Cavusoglu and Erdogan.
“This is systematic obstruction, and Germany is applying systematic pressure on our citizens. This is unacceptable. We always want to see Germany as a friend but Germany’s systematic anti-Turkey approach does not suit our friendship,” Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded by chastising Ankara for using Nazi references, saying they “trivialize” Nazi victims and are “unworthy of the close ties between Germany and Turkey.”