Turkish family affairs minister blocked from entering Rotterdam consulate

Posted March 12, 2017

Mevlut Cavusoglu had been due to address a Turkish rally as part of a campaign to win expats' support for a constitutional referendum that could give the president sweeping new powers.

Turkey said on Saturday it doesn't want the Netherlands ambassador to return "for some time" as relations quickly deteriorated between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies after the Dutch government barred Turkey's foreign minister from flying to the country.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also warned Turkey would impose heavy sanctions if his visit were blocked.

Following the incident, Turkey's foreign ministry summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires, ministry sources said.

Speaking to CNN Turk before his departure to the Netherlands, the minister threatened the northern European country with harsh economic and political sanctions in case he was not allowed in.

The Dutch government said it was open to meetings in the Netherlands to provide information about the referendum, but said Turkey's government "does not want to respect the rules in this matter".

The Dutch Prime Minister said in response to the rift that although the two countries can find an acceptable solution, Turkey does not respect the country's laws regarding public gatherings.

Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was in Germany for separate meetings when she made a decision to head to the Netherlands by land, but was told by border officials to return to Germany, the broadcaster said.

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Four rallies in Switzerland and one in Austria have also been banned.

Erdogan asked the Dutch authorities.

"You can stop our foreign minister's plane all you want, let's see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on", Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul.

The Dutch government cited public order and security concerns in withdrawing landing rights for Mr Cavusoglu's flight.

The Turkish referendum on the constitutional amendment is scheduled for April 16.

The legal opinion criticized the Turkish parliament's approval of the amendments when several deputies from the second-largest opposition party were in jail.

Ibrahim Kalin said: "A huge anti-Turkey, anti-Erdogan attitude is being systematically produced and serviced to the world, especially through Germany".