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Dutch leaders say Turks no longer welcome in their country

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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Dutch anti-Muslim leader Geert Wilders said on Wednesday that he doesn't want "even one more Turk" to come his country, calling on the country to close its doors to Turkish citizens during his session at the budget talks in Dutch Parliament. The government partner Halbe Zijlstra supported Wilders' comments and said "Turks should go back to Turkey if they see Erdoğan as their leader."

Known for his Islamophobic statements, the chair of the Party for Freedom (PVV) Wilders, began his speech by saying "We are losing our country and we should take it back, using military force if needed." He also asserted that "perpetrator" migrants should be expatriated. Then he brought up the topic of Turkish citizens living in Rotterdam, who celebrated the failure of the July 15 coup attempt with Turkish flags on Erasmus Bridge, and said that "Those are not Dutch, they are a fifth column," adding that he doesn't want even one more Turk in his country.

This is not the first time Wilders has verbally assaulted Turks or Muslims, however, this time he was supported by another prominent leader of the country and government partner, Halbe Zijlstra, the parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Zijlstra called on the Turks who see Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as their leader to go back Turkey. He defined the anti-coup protests as "a stupid behavior" and said that Turks living in the Netherlands should make a choice between the Netherlands and Turkey. "If they see Turkish President Erdoğan as their leader, they should go back to Turkey. If they stay, they need to embrace our freedoms," Zijlstra said.

At the special session, Wilders reiterated his opinion about purifying Europe of Islam. "Radical Islam is behind many attacks, including attacks in the Muslim-populated Istanbul," he said. He also asserted that the Netherlands should be saved from Islam; otherwise, it will destroy the country and its democracy.

The leader of the GroenLinks party, Jolein Klaver, responded to Wilders' comments and called on him to be respectful toward immigrants living in the country. Klaver also blamed the Islamophobic leader for being "all mouth and no trousers." Turkish independent deputy Tunahan Kuzu said that the Netherlands is also Dutch-Turks' and Dutch-Moroccans' country.

According to recent opinion polls, Geert Wilders' PVV is the most popular party among Dutch people and would win the most seats in an election.

Last week, Wilders said he was upset about the failure of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, claiming any military regime is better than President Erdoğan.

He also promised to close all mosques and Islamic schools and ban the Quran in an online manifesto in August.

Wilders also posted an English-language online-video in December 2015 with Turkish subtitles. In the video, he said "You[Turks] are not Europeans and you will never be. An Islamic state like Turkey does not belong in Europe; we do not want more, but less Islam. So Turkey, stay away from us. You are not welcome here."

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