Netherlands on high alert during Turkish referendum voting after Belgium riots

Turkey flag
Downloaded on 23 March 2013: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmoi/2678467654/sizes/o/in/photostream/. (pterjan/flickr)

From Wednesday next week until Sunday Dutch-Turks can vote in a Turkish referendum in the Netherlands. This can be done in Amsterdam, The Hague and Deventer. The national police and local authorities will be on high alert during these voting days, especially after riots at the Turkish embassy in Brussels on Thursday, NRC reports.

Should a majority of Turks vote yes in the , president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be given more power. On Thursday tensions between Erdogan supporters and opponents led to riots at the Turkish embassy in Brussels. Four people were injured, two of whom were stabbed.

"We are keeping our eyes and ears open", a spokesperson for the National Police said to the newspaper. "We anticipate what happens." He could not comment on what measures the cities will take. The Turkish consulate is organizing the voting. Propaganda will be banned at ballot boxes.

Dutch-Turks in Amsterdam can go vote at the RAI, where some 50 thousand voters are expected. It is unlikely that Amsterdam will take any drastic steps, such as a ban on carrying flags and demonstrations, a spokesperson for Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said to NRC. 

In Deventer some 30 thousand voters are expected at De Scheg sport center. Voters will gather in a parking lot at the A1 and will be taken to the sport center by buses, in order to avoid chaos and crowds at the center itself. The Oost-Nederland police are "alert to signals", a spokesperson said. "What happened in Brussels, we take into consideration in our preparations. I don't think we'll say anything more about it." A spokesperson for the municipality said to NRC that the same 'script' will be used as in previous Turkish elections. 

The voting station in The Hague will be located at the GIA center. The Hague stated that they "always" take incidents like riots in Brussels into accounts, "but we are not counting on it." 

Tags: