Dutch embassy & consulate in Turkey closed off as diplomatic row escalates (VIDEO)
The Dutch embassy and consulate in Turkey have been closed off for security reasons, Reuters reported citing Turkish foreign ministry. A mass rally took place outside the consulate in Istanbul after Turkish Foreign Minister was refused landing in the Netherlands.
The residences of the Dutch ambassador, charge d'affaires and consul general were also closed off, according to the same source.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said earlier in a statement that Ankara did not want “the Dutch ambassador, currently on leave, to return to his post for some time.”
“It has been explained to our counterparts that this grave decision taken against Turkey and the Dutch Turkish community will cause serious problems diplomatically, politically, economically and in other areas," the statement said, as cited by Reuters.
The move follows the Dutch government barring Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam.
Initially, Cavusoglu was to speak at a rally organized by Ankara to promote the referendum on amending the Turkish constitution among Turks living in the Netherlands.
UPDATE: Dutch govt declares Turkish minister persona non grata, mayor says consulate ‘lied’ to authoritieshttps://t.co/sAAURw6efh— RT (@RT_com) March 12, 2017
The withdrawal of permission for Cavusoglu to land was condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who lashed out at Dutch officials, calling them “Nazi remnants, fascists.”
Just hours before the shutdown of Dutch diplomatic buildings, another top Turkish official, Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was blocked from entering a Turkish consulate in Rotterdam by Dutch police. The move has triggered mass protests of Turkish community members outside the building.
Tensions between Ankara and Amsterdam have been building up for some time, before reaching a breaking point on Saturday night.
Netherlands has repeatedly warned Turkey against interfering in its internal affairs. In August, the Turkish Consul General in the Netherlands was reported to have sent a letter instructing mayors of several Dutch towns close to Rotterdam on how to fend off protests staged by opponents of the Turkish government. The document has caused outrage in Amsterdam, with Foreign Minister Bert Koenders saying that that protest activity in Holland is its own internal issue, and has “nothing to do with the Turkish government.”
Back in April, much controversy was sparked by the letter penned by a Turkish consulate official circulating on social media, in which he asked Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands to brief the consulate on the “messages from people who are insulting our president, the Turkish national or Turkey in general.”
The Dutch authorities said that it would ask “for an explanation” from Ankara, following the incident.