Source: ss,dj/rt (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
Turkey has slammed the EU for siding with the Netherlands in a diplomatic dispute, after banning the Dutch ambassador from the country. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel rejected Ankara’s accusations of supporting terrorists.
Brussels warned Ankara to avoid “exacerbating” the situation, as tensions continued to rise over Turkey’s demands to hold political rallies in the EU. In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the bloc was exercising democratic values selectively and “giving credit to xenophobia and anti-Turkish sentiment.”
“The EU’s short-sighted statement has no value for our country,” Turkey said.
Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “supporting terrorists,” after saying that both Germany and Netherlands acted like Nazis.
“Mrs Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country? Why are you not doing anything?” Erdogan said in an interview, accusing her of refusing to respond to 4,500 dossiers sent by Ankara on terror suspects.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert meanwhile said that the accusations against her were clearly “absurd”
“The chancellor has no intention of taking part in a game of provocation,” he added.
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The Turkish referendum
Erdogan also attacked Merkel for her public backing of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the ongoing diplomatic crisis with the Netherlands, which started when the country refused to let Turkish ministers hold political rallies there ahead of a referendum in Turkey to be held on April 16. German authorities have also taken measures to limit such rallies but, to a lesser extent.
The Netherlands responded angrily to Erdogan’s repeated claims of Nazism over the referendum dispute. The country, Germany’s neighbor, was bombed and occupied by German forces during World War II.
“Nazism, we can call this Neo-nazism. A new Nazism tendency,” Erdogan said again on Monday.
His aggressive rhetoric comes with just one month to go to the referendum date. Expatriate Turkish voters could make all the difference in the plebiscite that, if passed, would greatly expand Erdogan’s powers.
The standoff with the Netherlands meanwhile led to a complete halt in the diplomatic relationship between the two nations. Turkey banned the Dutch ambassador from the country and stopped all high-level political discussions. The escalation came on the eve of general elections in the Netherlands.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim meanwhile also threatened to cancel the refugee deal struck between Turkey and the European Union one year ago, which has helped in keeping the number of migrants arriving in Germany and elsewhere in Europe at bay.
On Tuesday, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte said that the measures taken by Turkey so far were “not too bad.”
“On the other hand, I continue to find it bizarre that in Turkey they’re talking about sanctions when you see that we have reasons to be very angy about what happened this weekend,” he added.
Updated travel advisories
The German Foreign Ministry meanwhile updated its travel advisory on Turkey, saying that Germans there should be worried about “heightened political tensions and protests that could be directed at Germans.”
The revision also recommends that German visitors to Turkey “stay away from political gatherings and from larger groups of people in general.”
The Netherlands followed suit and also revised their travel advice for Turkey, urging Dutch citizens visiting Turkey to exercise caution.
“There have been diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands,” the ministry wrote.
“Be alert and avoid large crowds.”