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Sunday, 12 March 2017


The Dutch government on Saturday prevented Turkey's foreign minister from visiting the Netherlands to address Turkish voters there in a breach of diplomatic protocol that reflected sharply worsening tensions between Turkey and Europe. The Dutch government said in a statement it had decided to withdraw landing rights for the foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, because of the risks to public order and security that a visit by him would pose. Reacting later Turkish president R. T. Erdogan suggested that Dutch diplomats would be prevented from traveling to Turkey. The intense diplomatic arguments highlighted the extraordinary heat generated by an upcoming referendum set for April 16 in Turkey on a number of constitutional amendments that could transform its system of government and vastly expand Erdogan's powers. Several European nations including the Netherlands and Germany have canceled appearances by Turkish ministers supporting Erdogan as the ministers try to sway Turkish voters in the diaspora. The Turkish campaign is coinciding with a fraught election season in Europe that has seen surge in popularity for RIGHT-WING, anti immigration candidates. Nationalist or anti-Muslim politicians such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands have called for Turkish politicians to be barred from campaigning in their countries, adding to the pressure on European leaders to accommodate such sentiments. Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party is expected to be a leading vote-getter in the Dutch election set for Wednesday, demanded the expulsion of the Turkish ambassador and the recall of the Dutch ambassador in Ankara.

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