Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:8AM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (Photo by AFP)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (Photo by AFP)
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Tensions are running high between Turkey and the Netherlands after authorities in the Dutch city of Rotterdam withdrew landing rights for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight and expelled Minister of Family Affairs Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya. That prompted Turkey to seal off the Dutch Embassy and Consulate in a tit-for-tat move. Both officials were scheduled to deliver speeches at rallies meant to gather support for Turkey’s upcoming constitutional referendum. Press TV has talked to Hatem Yavuz, a political observer, as well as Michael Springmann, a former US diplomat, to get their takes on the escalating diplomatic row between Ankara and Amsterdam.

Hatem Yavuz analyzed the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s behavior towards Cavusoglu as “undiplomatic” and “rude,” adding that it was “reminiscent of Nazism or fascism.”

The expert noted that Rutte’s action is xenophobic in its roots, arguing that there is nothing wrong with Cavusoglu traveling to the European Union to speak to the Turkish diaspora there.  

The analyst accused the European Union of spreading Islamophobia through the media in a “very dangerous” way, asserting that it has always been the West that has attacked Muslim countries, not the other way around.

Yavuz said the EU has been on the offensive against Turkey, trying to instill this fear that “Islam is going to come into Europe; Turkey is going to rule Europe one day; the Ottomans are back and all this rhetoric which is just trying to divert minds and create this Nazi or fascist image within their society. Because they have a contracting economy and they are itching for war somewhere.”

He also highlighted the fact that Turkey’s neighbors - namely Syria and Iraq - have been destabilized by “outside forces” and the repercussion for Ankara has been three and a half million refugees in its backyard.  

The Dutch, he said, have been trying to “escalate the already tense relations” ever since the failed July 15 coup, and warned of Turkey’s “reciprocal action.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has already threatened that retaliation will come in the “harshest ways.”

According to the analyst, both the European Union and the United States are worried about Turkey’s growing relations with Russia and that is why Dutch authorities are behaving in this manner.

The other panelist on the program, Michael Springmann, however, stated that the Netherland’s general elections in March is the main reason why the Dutch government has blocked the entrance of the Turkish foreign minister.

He explained that Prime Minister Rutte is “desperately afraid” of losing votes to Geert Wilders, the far-right anti-Islam anti-migrant politician who leads the Freedom Party.  

Springmann further opined that the European Union has not been “confrontational” with Turkey; rather, it is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is “unhappy” with the fact that he did not get visa free entry for Turks into Europe in exchange for withholding some of the refugees who have been pouring into the continent over the last couple of years.

He also stated that Erdogan is “pushing the wrong buttons” by calling the Dutch “Nazis,” warning such rhetoric could trigger long-term problems.

The analyst went on to say that Europeans see Turkey as a “repressive state” involved in “constant warfare” rather than “an asset to the European Union.”  

Springmann concluded by saying that Turkey is lurching back towards repressive dictatorship which is not going to bode well for the future of its economy as well as its political and diplomatic relations.