Supporters of Turkish president 'burn French flag instead of Dutch one by mistake'

Supporters of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan have mistakenly burned a French flag after confusing it with a Dutch one.

They set fire to the tricolore while demonstrating against The Netherlands in the Turkish city of Samsun.

It is the latest example of rising tensions after Dutch officials refused to permit two Turkish ministers into the country for campaign rallies.

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The protesters burnt the wrong flag and sang the Turkish national anthem.

While both the Dutch and French flags share the same colours of red, white and blue, the stripes on the Netherlands’ one run horizontally not vertically.

This didn’t matter to the supporters of Mr Erdogan, who proceeded to burn it using lighter fluid and a cigarette lighter.

On Tuesday, Mr Erdogan directed fresh verbal attacks at the Netherlands amid their growing diplomatic spat, saying he held it responsible for Europe’s worst mass killing since the Second World War.

In a televised speech, Mr Erdogan referred to the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, in 1995, and blamed a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces.

Mr Erdogan said: ‘We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre.

‘We know how rotten their character is from their massacre of 8,000 Bosnians there.’

The supporters burn the wrong flag (Picture: Ruptly)

It was Mr Erdogan’s latest war of words on the Netherlands, which prevented two Turkish ministers from holding campaign rallies in the country over the weekend.

There were violent clashes on the streets of Rotterdam at the weekend because of the impasse.

The two ministers had sought to campaign in an April 16 referendum on expanding Mr Erdogan’s powers, courting the votes of Turks in the Netherlands that are eligible to vote.

The French flag – not a Dutch one – lies in ashes (Picture: Ruptly)

About 400,000 people with ties to Turkey live in the Netherlands.

The Turkish leader previously called the Netherlands ‘Nazi remnants’ and also accused it of ‘fascism’.

Earlier, Turkey criticised the European Union for siding with the Netherlands in the row.

The EU has called on Turkey to cease ‘excessive statements’.

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