Dutch branded 'fascist' over Turkey foreign minister's plane ban

Turkey's president has called Dutch officials "fascists" and "Nazi remnants" after they stopped his foreign minister from flying to Rotterdam.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit out after the government withdrew permission for Mevlut Cavusoglu's plane to land in the country.

He promised retaliation against Dutch diplomatic flights.

Mr Erdogan is looking to the large number of Turkish people living in Europe, especially Germany and the Netherlands, to help clinch victory in a referendum next month that could give him sweeping new powers.

He has cited domestic threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants and a coup bid last July as reasons to back his new powers.

The foreign minister, who planned to attend a Rotterdam rally which has been cancelled, accused the Dutch of treating Turkish citizens in the country like "hostages".

And he threatened harsh economic and political sanctions in retaliation.

The row appeared to escalate on Saturday evening when Turkey's family affairs minister was blocked by Dutch police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

And in Turkey the Dutch embassy and diplomatic residencies were closed off for "security reasons".

Meanwhile, Mr Cavusoglu, the shunned foreign minister, reportedly arrived in France ahead of a speech in Metz on Sunday.

Mr 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."

He added: "They do not know politics or international diplomacy. These Nazi remnants, they are fascists."

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said: "It is a crazy remark, of course. But I understand they are angry, but this is of course way out of line."

Four planned Turkish rallies in Austria and one in Switzerland have also been cancelled in the dispute.

The diplomatic row comes ahead of the Netherlands going to the polls on Wednesday for a parliamentary election, where far-right politician Geert Wilders is set to make big gains.

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