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Turkey-Netherlands row: Dutch ambassador barred

BBC News logo BBC News 13/03/2017
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Turkey has announced a series of measures in retaliation for a Dutch decision to block its ministers from campaigning for a referendum.

Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said the Dutch ambassador would be barred from returning to Ankara, and high-level political discussions suspended.

Turkish attempts to hold rallies in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands have been blocked.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Dutch and Germans of Nazism.

The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Istanbul, says that Turkey and the Netherlands, two Nato allies, are now locked in an "unprecedented diplomatic crisis".

"We are doing exactly what they did to us. We are not allowing planes carrying Dutch diplomats or envoys from landing in Turkey or using our airspace," Mr Kurtulmus said on Monday.

"Those creating this crisis are responsible for fixing it."

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered the Netherlands her "full support and solidarity".

On Monday, the Dutch foreign ministry issued a new travel warning, urging its citizens in Turkey to take care and noting the new "diplomatic tensions".

Heavy security outside Dutch consulate in Istanbul - 13 March: Security is heavy outside Dutch diplomatic buildings in Turkey © Getty Images Security is heavy outside Dutch diplomatic buildings in Turkey

How did the row come about?

The proposed rallies aimed to encourage a large number of Turks living in Europe to vote Yes in a referendum on 16 April on expanding the president's powers. The plans were criticised by senior EU officials on Monday.

In Germany, for example, there are more than three million people of Turkish origin, of whom an estimated 1.4 million are eligible to vote in Turkish elections. In effect, the diaspora is Turkey's fourth-largest electoral district.

Officials in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands cited security concerns as reasons for blocking the rallies, or said they could stoke tensions.

A gathering in France went ahead, however, after officials said it did not pose a threat.

Two Turkish ministers were barred from addressing crowds in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, with one of them escorted to the German border.

Police used dogs and water cannon against protesters waving Turkish flags in Rotterdam.

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