Dutch politicians ask Turkish FM not to visit the Netherlands as it would boost Wilders's votes
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 08, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 08, 2017 12:00 am
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Dutch politicians asked him not to visit the Netherlands during Turkey's referendum campaign as it could be politically wielded by far-right leader Geert Wilders for "boosting his votes."
Çavuşoğlu spoke Sunday evening at an event in southwestern Antalya province regarding the recent bans on Turkish political rallies and criticism levied against Turkish politicians in various locations across Europe. He said Dutch politicians had been "taken captive" by Wilders's racist policies, adding that they are now asking Turkish politicians to help by staying away from the Netherlands before the country's general elections as a measure to prevent the far-right leader's votes from increasing.
"You [Dutch politicians] started to tell me, 'Mr. Minister, if you come now, Wilders's votes will increase. Please, come after the election." "Is this my problem? If you told me properly, I would help you in this regard as well, but if you first make a statement to the press saying, 'No, he can't come,' and then say this, then we won't buy it," Çavuşoğlu said.
Çavuşoğlu said that the currently increasing far-right trend in Europe is the result of "their turning a blind eye to racist parties," and that Turkey has warned the EU of the consequences of such actions. "You have turned a blind eye to these parties. Now, you started to act the same way. Where is Europe headed to? Where is democracy, human rights, freedom? They are dragging us into the pre-World War II period," he said.
Meanwhile, Wilders announced yesterday that he made an application to protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Lahey against the planned meeting in the Netherlands which Çavuşoğlu is expected to attend. The far-right leader also previously made a call to declare Turkish ministers as "persona non-grata" until the referendum on April 16.
Local German authorities have been cancelling the public appearances of Turkish ministers and government officials campaigning ahead of the April 16 referendum in various German towns and cities, based on poor excuses such as inadequate parking space and security concerns. Police and local authorities in Hamburg have already cancelled Çavuşoğlu's meetings on two different occasions. Several other politicians across the EU also defend the ban against Turkish politicians.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte supported Wilders's comments, saying that "Netherlands is not a country for politicians from other countries to sway politics."