Row after Netherlands cancels landing permission for Turkish minister's plane

Anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders, who is polling strongly ahead of the March 15 election, has called on the Dutch government to declare Turkish ministers persona non grata and bar them from the Netherlands until after the election.

"If a minister of the Republic of Turkey is not allowed to enter her own consulate or embassy, please suspend [our] relations with the Netherlands", he told a rally in Adana.

It comes after Turkey faced a backlash from some European Union states - including The Netherlands - for attempting to suppress pro-Ankara rallies atteneded by Turkish ministers. Was it appropriate for the Dutch police to block the roads and stop the vehicle of the Turkish minister?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said a Dutch ban on his foreign minister's visit was like Nazism, as tensions rocketed over rallies overseas to help Ankara gain backing for a key vote.

The vituperative comments heaped on the Netherlands comes amidst the Turkish president campaigning for an April referendum that would give the president more powers.

Erdogan accused the Dutch government, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, of "nazism and fascism", saying only a repressive regime would block Ankara's officials from traveling to the Netherlands.

Cavusoglu was to fly to Rotterdam on Saturday after he was barred from addressing a Turkish rally there.

Twelve people were arrested outside of the Turkish embassy in Rotterdam early on Sunday after police in riot gear used batons, dogs and water cannons to disperse crowds of protesters angry that the Dutch government had denied entry to two Turkish officials looking to campaign for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among the large number of Turkish dual-nationals living there.

President Erdogan reacted to the ban on his foreign minister by threatening to block Dutch flights.

Mr Rutte warned in a statement that the Turkish threat of sanctions made "the search for a reasonable solution impossible".

"I understand that they are angry but this is way out of line", he said, adding that it had been a tough decision given Turkey was "a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally".

Several EU leaders have criticised Turkey, amid a growing row over the Turkish government's attempts to hold rallies in European countries.

Dutch TV footage showed police stopping the minister's convoy 30 metres from the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam and preventing her from entering the building.

Hatem Yavuz analyzed the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's behavior towards Cavusoglu as "undiplomatic" and "rude", adding that it was "reminiscent of Nazism or fascism".

Following the incident, Turkey's foreign ministry summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires, ministry sources said.

"Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on let's see how your flights will land in Turkey", Erdogan said. Both officials were scheduled to deliver speeches at rallies meant to gather support for Turkey's upcoming constitutional referendum.

It said the Turkish government "does not want to respect the rules in this matter".

"If they escalate, we will have to respond, but we will do everything in our power to de-escalate".

  • Joanne Flowers