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Muslim countries condemn Dutch row with Turkey

Several Muslim countries as well as France, have condemned the Dutch authorities for deporting a Turkish official.

Published: March 13, 2017, 7:15 am

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    The diplomatic dispute between the Netherlands and Turkey this weekend has caused considerable turmoil.

    Several Muslim countries as well as France, have condemned the Dutch authorities for deporting a Turkish official. French Foreign minister Jean Marc Ayrault said in Metz the rally where a Turkish foreign minister was going to speak “was a matter of freedom of assembly”.

    Yousuf Al-Koda, head of the Islamic Wasat Party in Sudan, said the move against Turkish ministers contradicted human rights and the notion of democracy “advocated by Europe”.

    Algerian lawmaker Muhammed al-Hadi Osmaniye said such “racist” and “provocative attitudes served far-right groups” in Europe. “The West does not want the spread of democracy in Muslim societies,” he added.

    Egypt, Iraq, Mauritania and Tunisia on Monday also joined an international Islamic chorus of condemnation after the Netherlands barred Turkish ministers from attending a political rally in Rotterdam.

    In Rotterdam twelve protesters have been detained and another seven people were injured.

    The unrest comes in the wake of the forced departure of the Turkish Minister Fatma Betül Kaya Sayan.

    According to the Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, Kaya had to leave the Netherlands because he had been lied to about the intent of her visit.

    On April 16, Turkey votes in a referendum on a number of changes to the Turkish Constitution in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could gain considerable power. Since the summer of 2014, Turks living abroad can vote in Turkish elections.

    Politicians in Turkey, including Kaya, are trying to persuade Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands to vote for Erdogan’s proposed changes in the referendum.

    “That means that for Erdogan around 5.5 to 6 million potential votes could come from abroad,” said Armand Sag a Dutch analyst. “That may just be the deciding factor for Erdogan in the referendum, where both parties are running head to head.”

    Erdogan said on Sunday the Netherlands was acting like a “banana republic” and should face sanctions.

    “I call on all international organisations in Europe and elsewhere to impose sanctions on the Netherlands,” Erdogan said, after his prime minister earlier said his country would retaliate in the “harshest ways”.

    “Has Europe said anything? No. Why? Because they don’t bite each other. The Netherlands are acting like a banana republic,” Erdogan said in a speech in Kocaeli province, near Istanbul, according to Reuters.

    Earlier, Erdogan had described the Dutch as “Nazi remnants”.

    The Netherlands does not want Turkish ministers to publicly run their political campaigns in the Netherlands and escorted Kaya sat back to Germany. On Saturday, the Dutch government withdrew the flight permit of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Cavusoglu.

    In France, Cavusoglu described the Netherlands as the “capital of fascism” during a speech.

    After Kaya’s departure, riots broke out at the Turkish consulate, where a thousand Turks had gathered. The Dutch government tried to downplay the riots, but mounted police officers had to charge the angry crowd to drive them back.

    Figures from the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) show that exports from the Netherlands to Turkey account for about 1 percent of total Dutch goods exports.

    Previously, Turkey had already announced that for the time being the Dutch ambassador would not be not welcome.

    Tour operators TUI and ANVR-reisbureaus told Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, that they were experiencing mass cancelations to Turkey for the summer holiday season which starts in April.

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