Politics

Tensions escalate between Turkey and the Netherlands

Article published on March 13, 2017
Article published on March 13, 2017

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Dutch authorities "Nazi remnants" after one of his ministers was blocked from entering the Netherlands and a rally due to be held be Turkey's foreign minister was banned. Tensions are mounting on both sides, and commentators fear the consequences.

Campaigns in both countries - Lidové noviny, Czech Republic

Neither side will cede because both countries are in the middle of election campaigns, Lidové noviny believes:

"The Dutch will vote for their parliament on Wednesday, and the Turkish referendum on extending the powers of the president takes place next month. That is why Dutch politicians are taking such a firm stance: they want to weaken Wilders' protest party... Speaking at a press conference, the mayor of Rotterdam said that the Turkish family minister was an unwelcome foreigner. The mayor, incidentally, is a native of Morocco. That's right: a native of Morocco called a Turkish minister an unwelcome foreigner. What will Wilders - who chalks up most of his points in the election campaign with provocative remarks about Muslims and above all Moroccans - say to that?" (13/03/2017)

Erdogan's calculated tactics - Duma, Bulgaria

The real intent behind the controversial visits by Turkish ministers to EU countries is less to campaign for the referendum than to provoke Europe, Duma writes:

"Turkish government representatives are continually taking part in rallies, demonstrations and meetings with the Turkish diaspora in the various European countries. A double strategy is behind this: on the one hand Ankara wants to show that it hasn't forgotten its fellow citizens who live abroad. On the other it wants to show Europe that it has its tentacles everywhere. It's no coincidence that Erdoğan has repeatedly menaced the EU as he's doing now. Everything points to the Turkish president seeking open confrontation and to escalate the conflict. There's only one explanation: he's desperately trying to make the Turks believe that Europe is their enemy." (13/03/2017)

Video: Al Jazeera

Crisis destroying democracy - Cumhuriyet, Turkey

The crisis between the EU and Turkey will harm both sides, the government-critical daily Cumhuriyet fears:

"It will only fuel the xenophobia and above all the Islamophobia and worsen the crisis of democracy in the countries of the West. Meanwhile in Turkey hatred of the West is being fomented at every opportunity so as to pave the way for the rise of a nationalistic-authoritarian brand of politics... We are going through a dangerous period in which Turkey, thanks to the tensions with the West, is stigmatising democracy and freedom as Western products. It is impossible not to be worried that this escalation of tensions threatens the very foundations of Turkey." (13/03/2017)

Time to come down hard - De Telegraaf, Netherlands

The Netherlands must remain firm now, the right-wing daily De Telegraaf demands:

"Ankara's angry reaction is unbelievable. A raging President Erdoğan compares our country with Nazis, threatens us with sanctions and demands apologies because we turned away two Turkish ministers who were sent here to make trouble. 'Sultan' Erdoğan has clearly lost the plot. Turkey should apologise for its shameless insults and interference in our country. Now we must come down on it. This is the only language the Turks understand... Prime Minister Rutte wants to de-escalate the situation. But Erdoğan's long arm must be chopped off. Turkey's continuous interference is hindering the integration of Dutch Turks." (13/03/2017)

End accession talks now - Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

Erdoğan's Nazi comparisons and recent developments in Turkey must finally have consequences for Turkey's EU accession bid, Süddeutsche Zeitung demands:

"There haven't been any serious negotiations for some time now anyway. It was just about who would make the first move. The EU knew that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan no longer wants his country to join the EU. Erdoğan knew that the EU knows this and was hoping that Brussels would finally announce the suspension of talks. It would have been welcome ammunition for his hysterical anti-European campaign aimed at introducing presidential rule. The EU didn't want to do the loudmouth the favour. That was understandable, but it didn't achieve anything... The EU can't prevent the dismantling of democracy in Turkey, but it must react to it. There is no alternative to a preliminary but formal end to the accession negotiations with Turkey." (12/03/2017)

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