Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Sunday his country will strongly respond to Dutch authorities’ “unacceptable treatment” toward Turkish ministers who were prevented from addressing Turkish citizens in the Netherlands.
Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was expelled from the Netherlands and escorted back to Germany by Dutch police early Sunday after being blocked from addressing a rally in Rotterdam, where protests erupted outside the Turkish consulate.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, criticized Kaya as “irresponsible” for attempting to visit after being told she was not welcome and hit out at “unacceptable” verbal attacks by Turkish authorities amid an escalating row with Ankara.
In a written statement released early on Sunday, Yildirim also urged Turkish nationals living in Europe to remain calm and not fall for provocations. He also asked them to cast their votes in the April 16 referendum saying it would be best response to the European nations.
“There will be a stronger reprisal against the unacceptable treatment toward Turkey and ministers who have diplomatic immunity,” he said.
“Our so-called European friends who speak of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights have failed their class,” he added.
The Dutch government said it had told Turkey it could not compromise on public order and security.
“The search for a reasonable solution proved impossible, and the verbal attacks that followed today from the Turkish authorities are unacceptable,” it said in a statement.
“In this context Minster Kaya’s visit was irresponsible. Through contacts with the Turkish authorities, the message was repeatedly conveyed that Minister Kaya is not welcome in the Netherlands …. nevertheless she decided to travel.”
Dutch police used water cannon and horses early Sunday to break up protests outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.
After several hours of calm demonstrations, police moved in to disperse over 1,000 people gathered close to the consulate, charging the crowd on horseback and using dogs to regain control.
Protesters hit back, throwing rocks at riot police, while hundreds of cars jammed the streets blaring their horns and revving their engines.
Tensions finally tipped over into violence after a day of fast-moving events, triggered when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he planned to attend a pro-Turkish government rally in Rotterdam.
The Netherlands, which holds general elections on Wednesday, had repeatedly said Cavusoglu was not welcome to campaign for Turkey’s April referendum in the country and refused his plane permission to land.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted angrily accusing the Dutch — who were once under Nazi occupation — of being “the vestiges of Nazis.”