EU calls on Turkey to hold back in political spat with Netherlands

The European Commission called on Turkey to refrain from making harsh statements that could worsen the country's relationship with the Netherlands and other European members. "The comparison by the Turkish President with Nazi practices is unacceptable", Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said, according to NOS.

Timmermans believes that Erdogan's rhetoric went too far over the past few days. According to him, the Netherlands "firmly stood its ground" on Saturday. And the Netherlands had every right to make its own decision and to ensure the maintenance of public order and security, he said. 

Over the weekend Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Netherlands of Nazism and Fascism. This happened after the Dutch government refused entry to the country to Turkish Ministers who wanted to campaign in the Netherlands for a referendum that will give Erdogan more power. One minister still tried to go to the consulate in Rotterdam, and ended up being deported to Germany, according to NOS. This led to clashes between the Rotterdam police and Dutch-Turkish protesters, which led to the Turkish Foreign Ministry accusing the Rotterdam police of police brutality. The Dutch Foreign Ministry updated its travel advice for Turkey, warning Dutch to avoid public spaces and gatherings in the country. 

Timmermans also responded to accusations that Brussels was remarkably quiet given the circumstances. Timmermans calls this criticism unjustified. The spat between Turkey and the Netherlands is an internal affair, he said. He added that European Commissioners had contact with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders and the Turkish Foreign Minister on Saturday evening. "We were called by the Turks. Not to mediate, but to pass messages along." Timmermans said, according to NOS. 

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