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What Happened in Rotterdam Today? #Recap

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By Ela Gonca Izmirli

Protests broke out in front of the diplomatic mission in Rotterdam after the Netherlands government announced that it would not allow Turkish ministers to address a political rally in Rotterdam.

Cavusoglu wanted to give a speech to the Turkish expatriates who are living in Netherlands but are eligible to vote in the referendum on constitutional change on April 16th. Similar rallies were rejected in other European countries due to security concerns. Dutch foreign affairs ministry announced in a statement that the call for the Turkish political demonstrations is a threat to public order and safety. The refusals led Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call the EU nation as “fascist” and the government a “Nazi remnant.” The Dutch Prime Minister harshly condemned the statement adding ‘we will not be blackmailed by Turks’.

After German authorities denying Cavusoglu’s two meetings, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag tried to organize meetings in other German provinces which were also refused by the authorities.

 

The tension between Netherlands and Turkish governments started to escalate further after Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of Netherlands, announced on his Twitter account that he barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s airplane from landing in Netherlands. Mark Rutte had warned Mr. Cavusoglu before his upcoming visit noting they will do whatever it takes to stop him except arresting him.

After Mr. Cavusoglu’s had been barred from landing to Rotterdam, Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya announced that she would drive to Rotterdam from Germany to address the rallies. It was reported on Twitter and other social media that the Dutch police barricaded the roads to the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam to stop Ms. Kaya.

On her arrival, Minister Kaya was stopped by the Dutch police and not allowed inside the Turkish Consulate. According to the videos shared online, the Turkish diplomats were not allowed to leave the Turkish Consulate to meet with the Turkish minister either.

Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was detained, declared ‘persona non-grata’ and expelled from the country according to Dutch broadcasters. Betul Kaya tweeted, “The world must take action against this fascist act. This is unacceptable treatment against a female minister.”

Following the decision to arrest the minister, hundreds of Turkish protesters carrying pictures of President Erdogan and Turkish flags gathered outside the consulate in Rotterdam. The Dutch police in riot gear and on horseback warned to use force to disperse protesters. There were reports that the police used water cannons against the protesters.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to the Dutch Ambassador saying: ” Dutch Ambassador to Turkey should not return to his post for some time.” and announced that some Turkish diplomats were detained.

There were also reports that the Dutch police stopped the Turkish State News Agency AA and State TV TRT teams at the German border, denying them entrance.

Pro-AKP media in Turkey claims that Turks from all around Europe is traveling to join the protests in front of the consulate against Dutch authorities.

 

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