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Spotlight: Tensions feared to escalate from Turkish-Dutch rally row
BY 2017-03-15 09:15:30

ISTANBUL, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Fueled by the latest strong-worded controversial remarks made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tensions are feared to escalate and spread from a rally row between Turkey and the Netherlands in the former's relations with European Union members.

The row has also led to Danish delay of a planned visit by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim this month.

Erdogan on Sunday warned the Netherlands it would pay for barring Turkish ministers from campaigning on its land, saying it was acting like a "banana republic".

He also said "Nazism is still widespread in the West" and that Dutch treatment of Turkish ministers was "Nazism, fascism", after accusing the Netherlands of being "Nazi remnants" a day before.

In response, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Erdogan's remarks totally unacceptable and irresponsible while demanding an apology.

A NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally "with whom we have historic ties, strong trade relations, is acting in a totally unacceptable, irresponsible manner," Rutte told reporters.

Meanwhile, he ruled out apologizing for rejecting the border entry of Turkish ministers.

On Sunday, Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen proposed a delay of a planned visit by his Turkish counterpart Yildirim this month.

"With the current Turkish attacks on Holland the meeting can not be seen separated from that," he said in a press release.

Citing security worries that Turkish political divisions might spill into its Turkish minority communities, the Dutch government blocked Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from landing in Rotterdam for a rally on Saturday.

It later prevented Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate there before escorting her out of the Netherlands to Germany.

The two Turkish ministers were both for planned campaign rallies for the April 16 constitutional referendum in Turkey that is expected to expand the presidency's powers.

The Netherlands, with some 400,000 people of Turkish origin, and Germany, with 1.4 million, rank among top electoral bases for Turkish politicians.

Later during a speech in France, Cavusoglu described the Netherlands as the "capital of fascism" in criticizing it for joining other European countries in banning Turkish ministers campaigning.

France, urging calm, said it saw no reason to ban his gathering.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to prevent Turkey's political tensions from spreading into Germany. Some local authorities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have earlier called off Turkish rallies.

On Turkish ministers campaigning abroad, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Sunday told Germany's public broadcaster ARD that "A Turkish campaign has no business being there in Germany."

European Parliament Vice President Alexander Graf lambsdorff called for an EU-wide ban.

"The European Union should agree on a line that Turkish ministers are not allowed to campaign in the EU," he told Germany's Die Welt newspaper.

The Turkish-Dutch row triggered protests outside the Dutch embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara and consulate in Istanbul, as well as clashes with police early Sunday in Rotterdam during demonstrations near the Turkish consulate, and the arrest of at least six protestors on Sunday night in Amsterdam.

In the Netherlands, where parliamentary elections are to be held on March 15, mainstream parties are under heavy pressure from the far-right Party for Freedom which polls showed is making strong gains.

"Hey Holland! If you are sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday, you will pay a price," Erdogan said Sunday.

(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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