Germany, France back Netherlands in Turkey row; NATO calls for calm

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Germany and France expressed their support for the Netherlands in the political spat between the Netherlands and Turkey. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation in the situation. After the Netherlands' parliamentary election on Wednesday, Germany and France also have elections upcoming. 

The spat with Turkey boils down to the Netherlands refusing two Turkish Ministers access to the country to campaign for a referendum in Turkey next month that would give Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. Erdogan responded by accusing the Netherlands of Nazism and fascism.

On Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she fully supports the Netherlands in this row and that the Netherlands can count on Germany's "full support and solidarity", RTL Nieuws reports. She particularly criticized Erdogan's statement about the Dutch government being "Nazi leftovers". Comparisons with the Nazi's are "entirely inappropriate", Merkel stressed. 

France also stated that it stands behind the Netherlands, according to the Volkskrant. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Erdogan's statements about Nazism and fascism "unacceptable" and called on Turkey to abide to the European Conventions on Human Rights. 

NATO called for calm in the political dispute. "Robust discussions are the heart of democracy, but also respect. I urge all NATO allies to show respect for one another and to de-escalate the situation", Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Monday, the Telegraaf reports. "We should make every effort to focus on what unites us, not what divides us sometimes." He added that NATO will not withdraw from Turkey over this spat. "The presence of NATO in Turkey is good for Turkey and the rest of Europe. It is in our common interest."

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Germany's support in this matter "very positive" and said that he is "very happy" with it.

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