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Turkey and the Netherlands sharply escalated a dispute between the two NATO allies on Saturday as the Dutch blocked a campaign visit by the Turkish foreign minister, prompting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call them "fascists."
The Netherlands withdrew the landing permission for Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu because of objections to his intention to rally in Rotterdam for a Turkish referendum on constitutional reforms to expand presidential powers, which the Dutch see as a step backward from democracy.
"They do not know politics or international diplomacy," Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul. "These Nazi remnants, they are fascists," he added, as the crowd booed.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called it "a crazy remark, of course. But I understand they are angry but this is of course way out of line."
Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul: "You can stop our foreign minister's plane all you want, let's see how your (diplomatic) planes will come to Turkey from now on." Cavusoglu also referred to possible sanctions, and Rutte said consultations under such threats were impossible, forcing him to bar the visit.
The government said it withdrew the permission because of "risks to
public order and security," causing Cavusoglu to say: "so is the foreign
minister of the Turkish republic a terrorist?"