A diplomatic dispute between the Netherlands and Turkey has led to rioting by Turks in Rotterdam and a diplomatic crisis that could influence the Dutch elections that are just a few days away.
Thousands of Turkish immigrants rioted in the streets of Rotterdam early Sunday following the Dutch government’s decision to bar two Turkish ministers from entering the country.
The Mayor of Rotterdam issued emergency orders late Saturday in an attempt to contain a demonstration supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan outside the Turkish consulate in the city which has turned into a rallying point for Turkish immigrants.
Today morning, pro-Erdogan rioters vandalised the consulate of the Netherlands in the Turkish city of Istanbul and took down the Dutch flag replacing it with a Turkish flag, French news agency AFP reports.
With just 3 Days to go until the Dutch general election, local authorities revoked landing rights for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, citing “risks to public order and security”. Turkey’s Family Affairs Minister Fatma Kaya was also escorted back to Germany in the early hours of Sunday, Germany’s state broadcaster DW News confirmed.
These Turkish ministers intended to campaign for the next month’s referendum that would allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to alter the country’s constitution and remain in power until 2029. The Netherlands is home to some 400,000 people of Turkish origin and many of them are eligible to vote in the Turkish referendum.
Reuters News Agency reported last night’s rioting in Rotterdam:
Dutch riot police carried out charges on horseback early Sunday to break up hundreds of backers of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan demonstrating at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.
Expressing bitterness over her being escorted out of the Netherlands, Turkish Minister Kaya took to Twitter questioning if Europe indeed was the ‘cradle of civilisation’. Dutch politician Geert Wilders told her not to let the door hit her on the way out:
Wilders has long warned the Netherlands and the West of the dangers of uncontrolled immigration from Muslim countries. Wilders has been dragged to courts and attacked by the media for his views on unregulated mass-immigration.
With thousands of immigrant Turks rioting in the streets of Rotterdam, Netherlands second biggest city, Wilders is claiming he has been vindicated once again. It still remains to be seen if this translates into electoral gains for Wilder and his Dutch Freedom Party PVV. According to most of the polls ahead of Wednesday’s general elections, Wilders-led PVV is neck and neck with the current ruling VVD party.