Row with Turkey will boost support for PM Rutte in Dutch election: analysts

Political analysts believe that the diplomatic spat currently ongoing between the Netherlands and Turkey will favor VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Dutch parliamentary election on Wednesday, The Guardian reports. 

The political crisis is over the Netherlands refusing to let two Turkish Ministers campaign in Rotterdam for a Turkish referendum that will, among other things, give Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan much more power. On Saturday the Netherlands refused to let the Turkish Foreign Minister land in the country and eventually escorted the Turkish Family Minister to Germany. In response Erdogan accused the Netherlands of Nazism and fascism and of mass murder in Srebrenica in 1995.

According to Andre Krouwel, a political scientist at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, this move may have won Rutte the election. In a campaign dominated by PVV leader Geert Wilders' themes of immigration and integration, the spat "allowed Rutte to show himself as a statesmen - and to send a Turkish minister packing", Krouwel said to The Guardian. "What better publicity could a politician want a few days before an election? Rutte was able to show he could actually expel Turks, and to tell Wilders: 'You're just sitting there, tweeting'... This has won Rutte the election."

A recent poll by Maurice de Hond showed that 86 percent of Dutch voters think Rutte handled the situation with Turkey correctly. And the last poll before the election showed the PVV losing support and the VVD gaining.