Turkey may hit Netherlands with sanctions as ‘Nazi’ row escalates

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, March 5, 2017. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS
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ANKARA – The Turkish cabinet was on Monday expected to consider imposing sanctions on the Netherlands in a deepening row with its NATO ally over a ban on its ministers speaking at political events in Rotterdam, and one minister said punitive measures were likely.

President Tayyip Erdogan, who is seeking support from Turks in a referendum on boosting his powers, has accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants” and said it should face sanctions for barring his ministers from addressing expatriate Turks to drum up votes.

The row marks another low point in relations between Turkey and Europe, further dimming Ankara’s prospects of joining the bloc. It also comes as Turkey is caught up by security concerns over militant attacks and the war in neighbouring Syria.

A source close to the government told Reuters that sanctions were expected to be discussed when the cabinet of ministers meets at 7 pm (1600 GMT). Ankara’s minister for EU Affairs, Omer Celik, said sanctions were likely.

“We will surely have sanctions against the latest actions by the Netherlands. We will answer them with these,” Celik said.

Apart from any economic measures, a source in Ankara said sanctions could affect cultural activities, and military and technological cooperation.

Turkey summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires on Monday to complain about the ban – imposed due to fears of unrest and distaste at what the Netherlands sees as an increasingly authoritarian tone from Erdogan – and the actions of Rotterdam police against Turkish protesters over the weekend, foreign ministry sources said.

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On Sunday, Dutch police used dogs and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags outside the consulate in Rotterdam. Some protesters threw bottles and stones and several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. Mounted police officers charged the crowd.   Continued…

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