Tension between Turkey and the Netherlands deepens as Erdogan says further actions could be taken following a suspension of high-level diplomatic ties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, March 14, 2017.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, March 14, 2017.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said a diplomatic row with the Netherlands could not be dismissed with an apology and that further action will be taken.

Turkey suspended high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlands after Dutch authorities prevented Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering the country, and asked Turkey's Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan to leave the country over the weekend.

Turkey is currently trying to campaign among Turks in European countries for their votes in an upcoming referendum to reform its constitution.

"A simple apology cannot repair the damage. We will do more. The countries that have become slaves to Neo-Nazism just to gain some votes have lost their credibility," Erdogan said in Ankara.

"The state terror committed by the Netherlands on Saturday has damaged the EU the most. The EU is no longer the symbol of law, freedom and human rights. Europe cannot be left to the mercy of some rogue states."

Erdogan also held the Netherlands responsible for Europe's worst mass killing since World War II.

He was referring to a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, in 1995.

"We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre. We know how rotten their character is from their massacre of 8,000 Bosnians there."

Europe-wide issue

Erdogan also accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of attacking Turkey the same way Dutch police used dogs and water cannons to disperse Turkish protesters outside the consulate in Rotterdam.

He said Merkel was "no different from the Netherlands", and urged Turks not to vote for "the government and the racists" in upcoming European elections.

Last week, German authorities withdrew permission for two meetings in German cities that were part of the Turkish government's campaign to win the Turkish community's support for next month's referendum on the constitution in Turkey.

Austria and Switzerland are among those European countries that barred Turkish government officials from leading rallies to Turkish communities.

Italy has also stepped in the discussion and said "further confrontation is in no one's interest."

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday that Italy has "an obligation to ask the parties involved to tone down the rhetoric, to bring the level of argument down."

Alfano added that his government "can however understand the decisions taken by certain countries, starting with Holland."

He said Italy's good cooperation with Turkey does not mean that Italy should close it eyes on "certain questions" that its tradition and the history will not allow it to close it eyes to.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies