Tuesday 21 November 2017

Here's why Turkey is pretty upset with the Netherlands right now

By Zaina Alibhai

Sanctions have been ordered over the treatment of Turkish ministers.

The relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands has turned a little sour after Turkey announced a series of political sanctions against the country.

Here’s everything you need to know about the situation.

What brought on the sanctions?

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to encourage the millions of Turks living in western Europe to vote in the upcoming referendum on April 16, and sent two ministers to the Netherlands to drum up support among expats.

However, the officials – foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and family affairs minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya – were prevented from entering a consulate and escorted out of the country after attempting to attend a political rally.

The ministry also objected to what it called a “disproportionate” use of force against demonstrators at a protest afterwards.

What did Erdogan have to say about it?

Erdogan vowed to retaliate against the Netherlands and claimed: “Nazism is alive in the West.”

In a later television interview, he said: “Their Vienna Convention is their fascism. Their Nazism. We can say neo-Nazism.” He was referring to a 1961 international treaty on diplomatic relations.

What do the sanctions include?

Turkey has closed its air space to Dutch diplomats and has also barred the Dutch ambassador entry back into the country.

Parliament has also been advised to step away from a Dutch-Turkish friendship, and high-level political discussions between the two countries have also been halted.

Deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said the sanctions would apply until the Netherlands takes steps “to redress” the actions Ankara sees as a grave insult.

“There is a crisis and a very deep one. We didn’t create this crisis or bring it to this stage,” he said. “Those who did have to take steps to redress the situation.”

Is the Netherlands the only country to block Erdogan’s attempted rallies?

No, it’s not. Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany have done so too.

Turkey was actually caught up in a similar dispute with Germany last week, and German chancellor Angela Merkel’s support of the Netherlands has only seemed to rile Erdogan further.

Merkel pledged her “full support and solidarity” to the Dutch, saying the Nazi jibes were “completely unacceptable”. Erdogan accused Germany of supporting the “terrorists” fighting against Turkey and argued Berlin didn’t want to see a stronger Turkey.

What does the European Union have to say?

The EU told Turkey to calm down and “refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation”.

In response, a Turkish foreign ministry statement said the EU’s stance on Turkey was “short-sighted” and “carried no value” for Turkey.

Meanwhile, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg urged all members of the alliance to “show mutual respect, to be calm and have a measured approach”.

Press Association

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