Dutch ambassador in Ankara barred from returning to Turkey: Turkish deputy PM - UPDATED
Turkey has suspended high-level diplomatic ties with the Netherlands and the Dutch ambassador to Ankara will not be allowed to return from leave, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday.
The move comes amid tensions after Amsterdam deported a Turkish minister and banned another.
Kurtulmus told reporters about the measures on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in Ankara.
The Dutch government’s conduct “is unacceptable by any standards”, he said.
"This tension, this crisis, this chaos -- whatever you call it -- it is not us who caused it,” Kurtulmus said.
“Turkey will not suffer from this. Turkey protects its rights and dignity, but I would like to stress that it is the Netherlands and many other European countries that will bear the brunt,” the minister said.
Kurtulmus said Ankara might review the EU-Turkey refugee deal. Turkey’s EU minister has already called for reconsidering the agreement, especially the parts having to do with refugees trying to enter Europe by land.
On Saturday, the Dutch government cancelled the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's flight permit to the Netherlands.
It then then blocked a convoy carrying Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya and forced her to leave the country under police escort.
When Turkish citizens in Rotterdam peacefully protested these developments, they were met by police using batons, dogs and water cannons, in what some analysts called a disproportionate use of force.
The events have drawn strong criticism from the Turkish government, which, earlier Monday, sent diplomatic notes to the Netherlands in protest.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that Ankara’s sanctions would target the Dutch government not the country's citizens, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
“We will not target the Dutch people, We, will not harm them. It is not their mistake,” Cavusoglu said in a live interview with CNN International’s Becky Anderson.
Ankara said earlier that the Netherlands would pay a price for its anti-democratic steps against Turkish ministers this weekend.
The Dutch government blocked both Cavusoglu and Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from holding rallies there Saturday: “The rhetoric and policies of the current liberal social democrat coalition government of the Netherlands are not different from [that of the far-right leader Geert] Wilders,” Cavusoglu said, adding their attitude to attract local voters in upcoming election later this week.
“And after the election, it doesn’t matter who wins, I think the supporters of Wilders will be happy.”
Ankara is weighing possible sanctions against the Dutch government as Cavusoglu said in an earlier remark that an official apology would not be enough for the normalization of the relations with Turkey.
“Of course, we will not violate the international rules and democratic standard, as they [the Dutch government] did. We respect international laws and standards,” Cavsuoglu said.
He added: “We will not target the Dutch people, We, will not harm them. It is not their mistake. Dutch people are friends of Turkey. We have been friends [with Dutch people] for 400 years. We celebrated 400th anniversary of the diplomatic relations with Dutch. So, we are not going to target Dutch people.”
He rejected the Dutch accusation that his flight permit was cancelled over security concerns.
“I found this word nonsense,” Cavusoglu said and continued, “There was no problem in the previous meeting, no security concern, nothing. But why this time…. Am I a threat?”
He stressed that the Turks living abroad are not been radicalized and they are not threat to their host countries.
“I asked this questions to many foreign ministers: ‘Is there any single Turk living there is radicalized or are terrorists?’ They said ‘no’.”
“So, what is the security problem there? They even don’t give me any details about that. I am the foreign minister of Turkey,” said Cavusoglu.
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