Turks living in the Netherlands begin voting in referendum

Some are also suspected by Ankara of having links to US -based preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.

"At the moment we are investigating a total of 20 suspects on suspicion of conducting secret service agent activities on behalf of the Turkish government", the German government wrote in its answer to the German lawmaker, Die Welt said.

German prosecutors have launched an investigation into a case involving 20 people suspected of spying for Turkey on alleged followers of a cleric whom Ankara blames for the past year coup attempt.

"We are prepared to help people who actively seek assistance", the Dutch foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that Turkish authorities had been informed.

The dispute is one of several issues worsening tensions between Turkey and its European Union allies, amid a continuing row over cancelled rallies by Turkish government ministers.

Other European countries, including Austria and Switzerland, have also seen citizens of Turkish descent prevented from leaving the country.

If a majority of Turks vote "yes" in the referendum, Erdogan will get more power.

Germany angrily warned Turkey yesterday (19 March) that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone too far after he accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of using "Nazi measures" in an escalating diplomatic feud.

Tensions have been running high among the country's sizable Turkish community since an abortive coup against Erdogan in July past year, with complaints of intimidation against both pro- and anti-Erdogan supporters.

The Turkish embassy in London referred The Independent to its embassy and consulate in the Netherlands, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Zachary Reyes