Turkey vows 'harshest' response to Netherlands after minister's deportation

Vasudevan Sridharan

Turkish authorities have vowed that there will be the "harshest" response to the Dutch government's decision to deport a minister. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sunday, 12 March, that the Netherlands' actions against the Minister of Family and Social Affairs, Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, are "unacceptable".

Attributing the development to "internal" issues in the European country, the Turkish premier said the Dutch government's decision violates diplomatic protocols.

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"It seems the Netherlands has internal issues. General elections will be held on March 15. We think what we have been through today because of this election is based on internal politics. But whatever situations are, this cannot be acceptable for us and it should be retaliated heavily," Yıldırım was quoted as telling a local television.

In a separate statement released by the prime minister's office, Yıldırım said: "This situation has been protested in the strongest manner by our side, and it has been conveyed to Dutch authorities that there will be retaliation in the harshest ways… We will respond in kind to this unacceptable behaviour."

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Clashes erupted in Rotterdam after the Turkish minister arrived in the city by road in order to campaign for a referendum which might boost presidential powers in Turkey. However, the Dutch government quickly denied her entry and sent her back to Germany citing the Netherlands' general election in two days.

Responding to the Dutch government's actions, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, whose flight was also denied entry into the Netherlands earlier in the day, warned there will be a multipronged response from Ankara.

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"Which steps they take, we will take 10 times more action. We are not afraid of this, but their doings are really inhuman," Çavuşoğlu told a state-run television.

Both the Turkish ministers were to meet expatriates living in the Netherlands to drum up support for the referendum in Turkey. Previously, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had likened the Dutch government's move to that of "Nazi remnants and fascists".

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