Netherlands warns travelers to ‘stay alert’ in Turkey as rally row heats up
The Dutch Foreign Ministry released the updated advisory on Monday, warning citizens to be careful when visiting Turkey.
"Since March 11, 2017 there have been diplomatic tensions between Turkey and The Netherlands. Stay alert across the whole of Turkey and avoid gatherings and crowded places," the ministry said in its warning.
It went on to warn that there is a safety risk when traveling to Turkey, adding that Dutch citizens should register with the ministry ahead of travel.
The Turkish tourism sector is already suffering following last year's attempted military coup and a number of terrorist attacks. Visits from Dutch citizens saw a 30 percent drop last year, the NL Times reported.
Dutch envoy summoned
Meanwhile, Ankara has summoned the Dutch envoy after a Turkish minister was denied access to the country's consulate in Rotterdam over the weekend, claiming that "disproportionate" force was used against Turkish protesters.
Daan Feddo Huisingo was summoned on Monday, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. He was given two formal protest notes by Turkish officials.
The first note addressed Dutch authorities' treatment of the country's family minister, Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, who was blocked from entering the Turkish consulate and addressing a pro-Ankara rally in Rotterdam on Sunday. She was instead escorted to Germany by police.
Turkey says the move ran contrary to international conventions, diplomatic courtesy, and diplomatic immunities, and requested a written apology from Dutch authorities, Deutsche Welle reported.
The Turkish foreign minister was also barred from landing in the Netherlands on Sunday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the Netherlands of "Nazism" and acting like a "banana republic," saying it should face sanctions for barring Ankara’s ministers from speaking.
The second note issued on Monday speaks out against the treatment of Turkish citizens who had gathered outside the consulate in Rotterdam, saying "disproportionate force" was used against "people using their right to peaceful gatherings."
"The Turkish community and our citizens were subject to bad treatment, with inhumane and humiliating methods used in disproportionate intervention against people exercising their right to peaceful assembly," a statement attributed to ministry sources said, according to Reuters.
It comes after Dutch police used dogs and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags outside the consulate in Rotterdam on Sunday.
Some of the protesters threw bottles and stones, and several were beaten by police with batons, a witness told Reuters. Mounted police officers also charged the crowd.
The demonstration was part of Erdogan's efforts to drum up support for a 'yes' vote to an upcoming referendum on whether to turn from a parliamentary to a presidential republic.
The constitutional changes would give Erdogan sweeping new powers, allowing him to appoint ministers, prepare the budget, choose the majority of senior judges, and enact certain laws by decree.
The Netherlands isn't the only European country to clash with Turkey over recent gatherings. Erdogan also accused Germany of Nazi-like behavior after authorities in two states withdrew permission for political rallies earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Denmark has suggested that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim postpone his upcoming visit due to tensions between the Netherlands and Turkey.
Turkish citizens abroad are being seen as an extremely important component to Erdogan's referendum campaign, with 5.5 million living outside of Turkey. Of those, 4.6 million live in Western European countries.