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Turkey-Netherlands crisis deepens (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper II)

The European Union (EU) warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to avoid inflammatory rhetoric as a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands deepened over the blocking of Turkish Ministers from holding rallies. Mr. Erdogan had twice accused Netherlands of acting like the Nazis.

Background
Why were turkish officials holding rallies in the netherlands?

Turkey is a month away from holding a referendum on whether to change the country's constitution. The proposed changes would significantly expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan's ruling party is trying to gather support for the "yes" camp by campaigning among diaspora Turks elsewhere in Europe.

How is Netherlands involved?
There are around 400,000 people of Turkish origin living in the Netherlands. This has made Dutch cities such as Rotterdam a key campaign stop for Turkish officials.

Why did the dutch block the rallies?
The Dutch government said it withdrew landing permission for a plane carrying Turkish Foreign Minister because of "risks to public order and security."

Later, Turkish Minister was prevented from entering the country's diplomatic compound in Rotterdam, setting up a standoff with armed police.

How did turkey react?
Erdogan compared the Dutch to "Nazi remnants," adding: "they are fascists."

It was the second time that Erdogan likened another country to the Nazis recently. The first was directed at Germany, after several local authorities in that country canceled campaign events by Turkish officials citing security reasons.

Reactions of other nations
German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the Netherlands has her "full support and solidarity."

Denmark asked Turkish Prime Minister to postpone a planned visit because of the tensions between Ankara and the Netherlands.

So, is it Turkey vs. Europe?
No. Despite the fiery rhetoric between Berlin and Ankara, Germany insists that it has no plans to impose a blanket ban on Turkish officials campaigning in the country.

The German government has also reacted coolly to suggestions that Turkey should be punished in other ways.

That's partly because of the large number of Turks in Germany — more than 3 million, of whom about 1.4 million are eligible to vote in the referendum.

Another reason for Germany's caution is the fact that Berlin needs Ankara's support to keep the flow of migrants into Europe under control.

A deal between the European Union and Turkey is considered one of the main reasons why the flood of migrants crossing into Europe has slowed to a trickle in recent months.

How will this affect the referendum?
The spat has already stoked nationalist sentiment among some Turks in Europe, prompting angry protests in Germany and the Netherlands.

Extensive coverage of the diplomatic dispute and its consequences could detract from the issue of the referendum itself.

Erdogan and his allies have also claimed that Western European countries are supporting opponents of constitutional change, suggesting that by voting "no" in the referendum voters would be backing Turkey's enemies.



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