Turkish minister to defy Dutch request not to come for rally

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

According to Anadolu Agency any Erdogan Dutch flight barring would be on diplomatic flights.

But foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu - who had been flying to Rotterdam on behalf of Mr Erdogan ahead of the April 16 vote - was not permitted to land because Dutch authorities had deemed the rally unsafe.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte condemned the statement, saying the Turkish prime minister had gone too far.

Cavusoglu, speaking in an interview on CNN Turk television, said if the Netherlands refused him permission to fly to Rotterdam, Turkey would respond with harsh economic and political sanctions.

Turkey has also summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara in protest, AFP reported. Several other European cities have banned Turkish officials from attending such meetings aimed at expats who are allowed to vote in the referendum.

Turkey's escalating war of words with European Union governments, including Germany, comes as Erdogan seeks backing from Turkish voters across the 28-nation bloc for a referendum in April that would give greater powers to the now ceremonial presidency.

But Rotterdam's mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb announced Wednesday the gathering was cancelled after an owner said the rally's venue was no longer available. Despite the Turkish leadership's efforts a number of pre-voting rallies were cancelled in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Turkey has asked off-duty Dutch ambassador to not return for a while, said a foreign ministry statement Saturday.

"They neither know politics nor global diplomacy ..."

The government said Cavusoglu's permissions were revoked due to "risks to public order and security", but Erdogan cited the move as an example of "fascist practices". "It should be noted that, in this respect, the Turkish government does not want to respect those rules".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the Dutch "Nazi remnants and fascists".

Erdogan has used last year's coup as one of the reasons why he needs the new powers.

  • Ernesto Newman