'Turkey is not democratic, EU is experiencing a clash of civilizations'
Is the Dutch government being hypocritical over Turkey? Should Turkey apologize to the Netherlands? Could the growing spat between the two countries put in jeopardy bilateral relations between Turkey and the EU as a whole?
A row has erupted between Turkey and the Netherlands after the Dutch government banned rallies said to be drumming up support for the Turkish president ahead of a constitutional referendum.
Two Turkish ministers were also effectively barred from entering the country.
In response, Ankara compared Amsterdam's actions to those of the Nazis. Meanwhile, Turkish demonstrators have taken to the streets to condemn the Dutch government's decision to ban a rally in Rotterdam.
RT got reaction on the spat between Turkey and the Netherlands from different experts.
Are apologies in store?
Prof Dr. Dimitris Dalakoglou, Social Anthropology professor at Vrije University in Amsterdam, said he believes “the Dutch government is very hypocritical" considering its apparent disinterest in some other humanitarian issues regarding Turkey.
"It was ... the Dutch government that didn’t bother about the university professors being put in prison in Turkey, didn’t bother that activists are being put in prison in Turkey. Didn’t bother that the Gezi Park social movement was violently repressed by the Erdogan government.
But they bother because the Turkish citizens of the Netherlands want to execute their own legal democratic right to carry out a rally. I don’t know who should apologize. I think both of them are wrong,” he added.
Luc Rivet, Chief-Editor of the on-line daily newspaper Le Peuple, said he thinks Turkey is “clearly wrong, it was crazy of Mr. Erdogan to use the words ‘Nazi’ to describe policies led by the Dutch government.”
“I think they are right to say, 'Sorry, no, the limit is here, you go too far in spreading propaganda here among Turks.' We’ve seen that the AKP has been very aggressive toward the opposition in Germany, in Belgium, too. I think Holland should not, of course, send any apologies,” Rivet continued.
Rivet then pointed to upcoming elections, saying that "Prime Minister Mark Rutte ... is scared stiff of the opponent populist party of Geert Wilders, and so now he uses the talk of the populists.
He has said in the press, in full-page advertising, that if the migrants disagree with what the Dutch decide then “they can go;” things that could have been said by Mr. Wilders. So, in this instance, he is afraid of the results of the elections,” he told RT.
According to Rivet, “what is really hypocritical is that Mr. Cavusoglu the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey was supposed to come to the Netherlands, but the Prime Minister told him, 'Please, come after the 15th, after the election, then there is no problem.' Which is incredible.
So, in a way, Mark Rutte is not firm at all, he is just a politician of the old school that says whatever is needed. That is the problem.”
‘A clash of civilizations’
Janice Atkinson, independent MEP for the South East England region argued that “Turkey has had a bribe of €6 billion and another four to come and there are no strings attached to that, other than that they carried out the EU’s dirty work.”
“It should be the nation states that man their own external borders. It should be the frigates and the navy of the nation states that should be manning the Mediterranean to stop the migrant crisis. But they outsourced this, and this is the result of it. What you are finding here is a bit of bribery going on from Erdogan,” she added.
“Why does Mr. Erdogan think that he can go to another nation state, a European state, somewhere in Europe, because Turkey is not in Europe; why does he think that he can hold rallies, which essentially is against the rule of law,” Atkinson told RT.
“This is the man who following the coup last year locked up the opposition, and imposing a type of Islamo-fascism, and closing down newspapers that don’t agree with him and arresting journalists. That’s hardly democracy.”
In Atkinson’s view, “the Netherlands is a bastion of tolerance and liberalism. Turkey clearly isn’t. And so there is this big disconnect which we are seeing between the Islamic countries and the Islamic people living in our countries, and the rule of law and democracy which we all uphold so dearly. There is a clash of civilizations. And maybe this is the break that we will see happen.”
‘Reminder: Turkey is an important EU’s strategic partner’
Daniel Robert Kawczynski, a British Conservative Party politician, suggested that “these countries ought to be very careful in some of the actions and language that they use in regard to Turkey.”
“Let’s not forget that this is a very important strategic partner for the whole of the EU and the UK in the sense that they are a very respected and trusted long-term partner within NATO,” he added.
Kawczynski said that he hopes the governments of the Netherlands, Germany, and others “will do anything possible to try to lower the tensions with Ankara and get back to some sort of sense of normality.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.