Turkish minister says Netherlands suspends "all freedoms"

Turkey's Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya returned to Istanbul after Dutch police prevented her from entering the Turkish consulate in the Netherlands. She said, "Even our most basic needs were not allowed to be met."

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkey's Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya (C) speaks during a news conference at Ataturk International airport in Istanbul, Turkey, March 12, 2017.

Updated Mar 13, 2017

Turkish Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya said on Sunday she experienced “inhuman treatment” from the Dutch police who prevented her from entering Turkey’s consulate in the Netherlands.

Dutch police escorted the Turkish minister back to Germany, from where she had travelled by road to the Netherlands, after the Dutch government had revoked landing rights for a plane carrying Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday.

“All freedoms were suspended in the Netherlands yesterday [on Saturday]. Even our most basic needs were not allowed to be met,” Kaya told a press conference at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, accompanied by Energy Minister Berat Albayrak.

Kaya is one of several Turkish politicians who recently have been barred from addressing Turkish expatriates in Europe ahead of an April referendum in Turkey that would increase presidential powers. The referendum follows a coup attempt last year in which disaffected members of the military and security apparatus attempt to topple the government.

Turkey has rejected EU criticism of mass arrests and dismissals of people authorities believe were linked to the failed July 15, 2016 coup and subsequent state of emergency, initiated to deal with the post-coup situation in Turkey.

Turkey's Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya speaks during a news conference at Ataturk International airport in Istanbul, Turkey, March 12, 2017. (Reuters)

“The West who questioned the state of emergency we had declared following the July 15 coup attempt, that targeted our country’s future and integrity, have themselves declared a state of emergency in one night for a woman minister’s meeting with her citizens in the consulate building which is counted as their territory,” said Kaya.

"As a minister holding a diplomatic passport, I don't have to get permission to come together with our citizens at our consulate, which is considered Turkish territory," she said.

More than a thousand protestors, many of who waved Turkish flags, took to the streets in Rotterdam demanding to see the minister.

Several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons and arrested. Officers carried out charges on horseback and also used dogs and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.

TRT World's Kilmeny Duchardt in Ankara has more.

Turkey expects official apology

Turkey will continue to take steps against the Netherlands until it apologises over a diplomatic row, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

Turkey was waiting to see whether European countries would voice criticism of the "fascist act" by the Netherlands, he told reporters in France ahead of a public appearance in the northeastern city of Metz.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Sunday he would do everything to "de-escalate" a diplomatic confrontation with Turkey he described as the worst the Netherlands has experienced in years, after two major incidents on Saturday.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday "Turkey will retaliate in the 'harshest ways' to Dutch moves to bar the flight of the Turkish foreign minister and prevent the family minister from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

"This situation has been protested in the strongest manner by our side, and it has been conveyed to Dutch authorities that there will be retaliation in the harshest ways ... We will respond in kind to this unacceptable behaviour," Yildirim said.

Turkish presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin also slammed the Dutch government.

“Shame for the Dutch government for succumbing to anti-Islam racists and fascists, and damaging long-standing Turkey-NL relations,” Kalin tweeted in response to a call by Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam Dutch politician.

Geert called on Kaya to leave the country "and never come back."

Turkey’s Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik is among those who criticised the Dutch government.

"Fascism has awaken in the Netherlands and take stage. All real democrats in the world should react to this for free world," Celik wrote on Twitter.

TRTWorld and agencies