Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara will impose “whatever diplomatic sanctions we have” on its NATO ally the Netherlands in an escalating row between the two nations.
It comes after the European Union called on Ankara to “refrain from excessive statements” with regards to the situation.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn warned against “actions that risk further exacerbating” events.
Ahead of Erdogan’s statement, one minister said punitive measures were likely in response to Dutch authorities banning two Turkish MPs from addressing crowds at political events in Rotterdam on Saturday (March 11).
In a live television broadcast on Monday (March 13), the Turkish leader said he would take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights.
Earlier on Monday, Turkey summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to complain about the ban. The Netherlands imposed it amid fears of unrest at what it considers the increasingly authoritarian tone of Erdogan, foreign ministry sources reported.
Re-thinking the deal on migrant flow?
Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister responded to events by suggesting Ankara “should re-evaluate” its side of a key accord struck with the EU to stem the flow of migrants into the Union.
According to Turkish state media, Omer Celik has talked about preventing migrants from travelling across land borders. However, he reportedly said the illegal – and often highly dangerous – sea crossings would continue to be halted as a matter of human responsibility.
“The democracy and state of law have been violated in the Netherlands.
“Therefore, the EU, which depends on these values, needs to implement a very sensitive and effective policy to protect the values. If no action is taken, it will not be possible to talk about the European Union being a political union,” said Celik.
He, too, had earlier said sanctions on the Netherlands were likely.
“We will surely have sanctions against the latest actions by the Netherlands. We will answer them with these,” Celik warned.
A source in Ankara told Reuters news agency that, aside from economic measures, sanctions “could affect cultural activities, and military and technological cooperation.”
Why are there gatherings in the Netherlands?
The political gatherings aim to boost support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among Turkish expatriates, ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional change.
On Saturday (March 11), Dutch authorities prevented a plane carrying Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from landing and blocked Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from holding a rally in Rotterdam.
Erdogan has accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants” and called for punitive action.
Around 400,000 Turkish citizens live in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has urged its citizens travelling to Turkey to take care and says it won’t respond to threats.
“Turkey is a proud country, but also the Netherlands is a proud country. We will never negotiate under threats, under these type of utterings of the foreign minister. So that’s why we stopped discussions and we told him that he was no longer welcome that Saturday,” said Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.
“I believe they just wanted to come here to talk with Turkish people about the referendum. And again, it was very difficult to come to logistical arrangements.”