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9 Mar, 2017 18:35

Turkish FM says ‘racists’ like Wilders won’t prevent him from going to Netherlands

Turkish FM says ‘racists’ like Wilders won’t prevent him from going to Netherlands

Turkey’s foreign minister has said he doesn’t care about “fascists and racists” like Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, and says they won’t prevent him from meeting with Turkish citizens. Wilders earlier called for a ban on Turkish officials campaigning in the Netherlands.

“I will go to the Netherlands, no such obstacle can stop us... We will not succumb to fascists and racists like Wilders,” Cavusoglu told journalists in Ankara on Thursday, according to Reuters. 

The statement comes after leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom Geert Wilders called for a ban on all Turkish officials from coming to the Netherlands and holding meetings with Turkish voters.

Earlier reports alleged that Cavusoglu cancelled the planned visit to Rotterdam, a southern city with dense Turkish community.

The Dutch government described the Turkish initiative as “undesirable,” but didn’t take any steps to intervene – a response that Wilders slammed as “weak.” On Sunday, Wilders said that he “would do things differently” if the decision was up to him. 

His opinion resonated with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, who spoke out against Turkish officials holding rallies inside the European Union and called for a general ban on such campaigning across the EU.

“A collective EU response to prevent such campaign events would make sense so that individual countries like Germany don’t end up being pressured by Turkey,” Kern told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Unlike the Netherlands, several German cities called off several meetings with high-ranking Turkish officials.

The southern German town of Gaggenau canceled a visit by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag due to security concerns. The following day the local City Hall was evacuated after a phone bomb threat.

Cologne and the small town of Frenchen canceled similar rallies with Turkish government figures.

Following that, Cavusoglu accused German authorities of a policy of double standards against Turkey and meddling in Ankara’s internal affairs.

The constitutional referendum scheduled for April 16 may massively expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

If the changes are approved, Erdogan will become the sole executive head of state, and will be able to choose his own cabinet ministers, enact laws, call elections and declare a state of emergency.