Turkish referendum and Erdogan

The Dutch government on withdrew landing permission for the Turkish foreign minister's aircraft earlier on Saturday, escalating a diplomatic dispute between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over campaigning for a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform.

The Dutch government on Saturday refused permission for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's plane to travel to the Netherlands ahead of a planned rally in the city of Rotterdam to drum up support for a referendum.

Mr Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul: "You can stop our foreign minister's plane all you want; let's see how your (diplomatic) planes will come to Turkey from now on".

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, branded Dutch authorities "Nazi remnants and fascists".

As the row raged, Turkish foreign ministry sources said the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul had both been sealed off for "security reasons". They have very good relations, and I think the Dutch government took this decision in order to give a message to Geert Wilders in the election.

The Dutch foreign ministry urged citizens visiting Turkey to exercise caution following "diplomatic tensions" between the two nations, advising people to "be alert and avoid large crowds".

The Turkish foreign minister travelled to France for a pro-Erdogan rally in the northern city of Metz yesterday to try to secure the votes of 700,000 expatriates there.

It's probably been easy to overlook with all the other news boiling over these days, but there's a war going on at the moment between the Netherlands and Turkey.

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A storekeeper in southeast Turkey on Monday filed a criminal complaint against the king of the Netherlands and a host of officials over the treatment of Turkish ministers.

When Turkish citizens in Rotterdam peacefully protested these developments, they were met by police using batons, dogs and water cannons, in what some analysts called a disproportionate use of force.

Speaking during a head-to-head debate broadcast live on Dutch TV, Mr Wilders branded his opponent the "prime minister of foreigners".

The ban came despite Ankara's threat of sanctions against Amsterdam if the Dutch government canceled Cavusoglu's visit. "It was very hard to agree with the Turkish foreign minister on the logistics of a visit he wanted to pay last Saturday to speak with a limited - in our view it should be a limited group of Turkish people in one of the official Turkish residences - it was very hard to come to a logistical arrangement". "The Turkish government is right and to a limited extent the Europeans as well", said Eralp.

Erdogan accused the Netherlands of working against the "Yes" campaign and said: "Pressure however much you like".

Turkey's government has been campaigning hard on the "yes" vote, including sending a variety of ministers and officials to deliver speeches to Turkey's sizeable diaspora communities who are eligible to vote, including in Germany and the Netherlands.

Turkish attempts to hold rallies in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands have been blocked.

  • Megan Austin