The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, says that Europe is heading towards "wars of religion," his statement comes following the rise in the movement of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilder in the Netherlands. Even though Wilder was defeated by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the recent Dutch elections, tensions still exist between the two nations. Turkey has been locked in a deepening row with the Netherlands after the Dutch barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies among overseas Turks. Dutch authorities withdrew permission for the foreign minister’s plane to land when he vowed to visit the country regardless, sparking a series of tit-for-tat sanctions.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and prominent ministers have called the Dutch government “fascists” and “Nazis”, while EU leaders have called the allegations offensive and “detached from reality”.
The Turkish foreign minister recenlty commented:
“Many parties have received a similar share of votes. Seventeen percent, 20 percent, there are lots of parties like this, but they are all the same.”
“There is no difference between the mindsets of Geert Wilders and social democrats in the Netherlands. They all have the same mindset … That mindset is taking Europe to the cliff. Soon wars of religion may and will start in Europe.”
Votes from expatriate Turks are being sought after by the Turkish government but the Dutch have argued that public safety comes first and have banned Turkish ministers from addressing Turks. Their votes would have given President Tayyip Erdogan new powers in the campaign for a new referendum.
Erdogan, who is counting on the overseas Turks in the April 16 vote, has accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants”. On Thursday, he said the diplomatic row had cost Rutte Ankara’s friendship.
“Hey Rutte, you may have won the election as first party, but you have lost a friend like Turkey,” Erdogan told flag-waving crowds at a pro-referendum rally in the northwestern province of Sakarya.
He also slammed the European Union for a ruling allowing companies to ban staff from wearing Islamic headscarves under certain conditions.
“Shame on the EU,” Erdogan said. “Down with your European principles, values and justice … They started a clash between the cross and the crescent, there is no other explanation.”
Posted by Amanda Hopkins