Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Turkey Tightens Diplomatic Crisis With The Netherlands And Germany

Turkey, furious to see its ministers deprived of electoral rallies in Europe, has further tightened the diplomatic crisis, refusing the return of the Dutch ambassador to Ankara and accusing German Chancellor Angela Merkel of "supporting terrorism."



The Netherlands is in the sight of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their decision to prevent two Turkish ministers from participating on the Dutch soil in meetings in his favor with the Turkish diaspora before a referendum on the presidential status.

After naming the Dutch leaders as "Nazis", Ankara passed on concrete measures on Monday evening: Turkey, said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, refuses the return of Ambassador Kees Cornelis van Rij "until The conditions ... shall be fulfilled ". And to announce the suspension of relations at the highest level with the Netherlands.
He said Turkey wanted to investigate the events of the past few days, including the use of police officers and dogs to restore order after a demonstration in front of the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam (central Netherlands). Ankara also wants the Netherlands to repair "the wrongs they have committed," he said without further details.

European diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini said it was "essential to avoid further escalation and find ways to calm the situation." The US State Department also urged to "avoid escalation".

Tension has also increased in recent days with Germany, where several cities have refused to hold Turkish electoral meetings.

On Monday, Erdogan directly attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel, accused of "supporting the terrorists". "Why are you hiding from terrorists in your country? Why do not you act?", The Turkish president said on television.

This diatribe was intended to denounce the "support" that would bring Berlin, according to him, to militants of the Kurdish cause and suspects sought for the failed coup d'état of 15 July, offering refuge.




Mrs. Merkel considered these remarks "aberrant". "The Chancellor does not intend to participate in a contest of provocations," said her spokesman Steffen Seibert.

In his speech, Erdogan also accused Germany of "Nazism", a criticism of Merkel's support to his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte in the tug of war with Ankara.

Ankara is a strategic partner of the EU, notably in managing the influx of migrants to Europe.

But in light of the current crisis, Turkish Minister of European Affairs Omer Celik on Monday discussed a "review" of the pact on the fight against immigration concluded a year ago with Europe.

The crisis was triggered by the refusal of the Netherlands to authorize Saturday the visit of the head of the Turkish diplomacy Mevlut Cavusoglu, followed by the expulsion of the Minister of Family Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya.

They had to attend rallies to convince the important Turkish diaspora to vote "yes" in the April 16 referendum.

The presence of Turkish politicians at such rallies has given rise in recent weeks to passes of arms between Ankara and several European capitals.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also called on Turkey and European countries, all members of the Atlantic Alliance, to "de-escalate tensions" on Monday.

In this extremely tense context, the Netherlands on Monday called on their nationals in Turkey to remain "vigilant", after a weekend marked by demonstrations before the Dutch diplomatic representations in Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch Charge d'Affaires on Monday morning and handed him two letters of protest against "the treatment of Turkish ministers and citizens in the Netherlands."

According to Soner Cagaptay, Turkey's specialist analyst at the Washington Institute, "Erdogan is looking for imaginary foreign enemies to woo his nationalist base in the run-up to the referendum," and "the Dutch have fallen into this trap."

"It is the promise of the hypocrites, and it is said that the accession negotiations (from Turkey to the EU) still exist, but this is not true, there is nothing worse than the current situation. The populism of Erdogan express itself, "laments Didier Billon of the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) in Paris.

This crisis comes a few days before the legislative elections scheduled Wednesday in the Netherlands, where the party of the Islamophobic deputy Geert Wilders is given second place by the polls.

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