Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders has come under fire for sharing a defamatory cartoon of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media, as the Turkish president himself, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and other high-ranking Turkish officials slammed the racist lawmaker Sunday.
"There is this so-called Dutch deputy (Geert Wilders) who speaks ill of us. Unlike him, we don't condone racism, and fascists have no place in Turkey," Erdoğan said.
Wilders shared the cartoon, which portrays a likeness of Erdoğan wearing a bomb-shaped hat bearing the logo of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on his head, along with the headline "terrorist."
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu blasted Wilders too.
"The racist losers of Europe have shown their true colors when faced with reality," Çavuşoğlu said.
"They are trying to take advantage of the Islamophobia and xenophobia. It is high time we said stop to the fascist, spoiled politicians of Europe," he added.
Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also blasted Wilders for his hate speech.
"Europe is an increasingly dangerous place for Muslims. The dog-whistle politics of offensive caricatures, accusations of separatism against Muslims and mosque raids isn’t about freedom of expression," he said.
"It’s about intimidating and reminding Muslims that they are welcome to keep the European economy going, but they will never belong — against the backdrop of lectures about integration. Everything we see about Muslims in European public culture today is eerily familiar to the demonization of the European Jewry in the 1920s," Altun added.
"Some European leaders today do not just target Muslims in their midst. They attack our sacred values, our scripture, our prophet and our political leaders — our way of life," he said, adding that the racist-motivated attacks are also against the religion of Islam itself.
"Europe’s hostility toward Muslims and efforts to ‘discipline’ them is inseparable from the increasingly widespread hostility towards Islam, Turkey and our president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan," Altun concluded.
The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) parliamentary group Chairman Naci Bostancı also slammed Wilders for the insulting cartoon.
"Wilders is prisoner to his dirty rhetoric. He is a shame to humanity. We hope the Dutch, who belong to the civilized world, will do what’s necessary," he said, expressing his hopes that the far-right lawmaker won’t be elected again in the next Dutch elections.
AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik was also among high-ranking Turkish officials condemning Wilders.
"Despicable, enemy of humanity and fascist ... It is a duty to fight these despicable fascists," he said.
"Humanity is not found in whatever they might say. The only reason they are attacking our president is that he stands with the oppressed in the name of humanity, without compromise," Çelik added.
"We are proud that our president is attacked by these fascists that are enemies of humanity. Because they are enemies to anyone fighting for humanity. It is the worst shame of all to be one of the people praised by them," he added.
Attacks by fascists like Wilders against Erdoğan hint at their aim to "spill the blood of the oppressed in Syria and Libya and do what Adolf Hitler did to Jews to these oppressed people," Çelik added.
"Our president does not allow this fascism. We are going to fight these fascists and strengthen that struggle for humanity. Our president's fight against these fascists is the fight against enemies of humanity," he said.
AK Party parliamentary deputy group Chairman, Mehmet Muş, also criticized Wilders.
"Do not bother to remind this fascist Dutch of the European values because they don't exist anymore. The mindset that rules Europe is on the same page with this racist man," he said.
"Let’s cherish our own values, to not allow hostility against Turks and Islam. That’s when this scum will lose," he said.
Another AK Party deputy group chairman, Bülent Turan, also slammed Wilders’ hate speech.
"Europe is being tested with the so-called leaders like Geert Wilders, who is impertinent, irresponsible and deranged," he said.
"We have to be strong. Humanity should win in the face of people that want to embolden terrorism," Turan added.
Along with the officials, people on social media were also quick to respond, blasting the racist politician for insulting Turkey's head of state with an underlying Islamophobic message through the use of the word "terrorist," as Wilders has associated Muslims with acts of terrorism countless times in the past.
Wilders, the leader of the Dutch anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV), lost four seats in the European Parliament election in May 2019 in which the Social Democrat Party was the surprise winner.
Throughout his political career, Wilders has proven himself to be racist through his numerous abhorrent anti-Islamic comments.
In 2019, Wilders canceled a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that sparked protests in Pakistan.
The outspoken anti-Islam party leader said he decided to "let the contest go" following death threats and concerns other people could be put at risk.
Wilders added that his fight against Islam would continue and no threat could stop him.
In the event, scheduled for November, Wilders planned to display caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad at the tightly guarded offices of his Party for Freedom in the Dutch parliament building. He said he received "hundreds" of entries.
The Dutch politician was also fined 5,000 euros ($5,400) in 2016 on charges of hate speech and discrimination.
He faced charges of discrimination and inciting racial hatred at a rally in 2014, where he led supporters in chanting that they wanted fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.
In a televised incident on March 19, 2014, Wilders asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans, to which the crowd replied, "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" A smiling Wilders responded, "We'll take care of that."
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