Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said the "spirit of fascism" was running rampant in Europe as he accused the Netherlands of massacring over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica.
Tensions between Turkey and the EU peaked after the Netherlands and Germany blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies to encourage Turkish expatriates to vote in support of constitutional change in Turkey at a forthcoming April 16 referendum.
"They have nothing to do with civilisation, they have nothing to do with the modern world," Erdogan said in a televised speech on Wednesday.
"They are the ones who massacred over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims... in the Srebrenica massacre."
Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995, as Dutch UN peacekeepers stood by, the worst atrocity committed on European soil since World War II.
"The Jews were treated the same in the past," he added, referring to the persecution of Jews under Nazi Germany.
"Europe is heading towards being drowned in its own fears," Erdogan said.
"Turkophobia is mounting. Islamophobia is mounting. They are even scared of migrants who take shelter there," he said.
Protests in the Netherlands
On Saturday, Dutch authorities banned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam and stopped the convoy of the Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan from entering the Turkish consulate there.
The two ministers were scheduled to address a rally of Turkish expatriates to encourage support for the next month’s referendum over a constitutional change.
The bans led to protests in Rotterdam by Turkish citizens in which several demonstrators were injured after being beaten by the city’s police.
In order to break up the protests, the Dutch authorities had directed the police to use brute force and went to the extent of issuing shoot-to-kill orders.
EU chief reacts
The head of the executive European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker denounced the Turkey’s remarks as “totally unacceptable”.
"This is totally unacceptable and the one who is doing this is taking distance from Europe and not trying to enter the European Union," he said.
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, saw Erdogan’s comments as "detached from reality".