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Saturday, March 11, 2017

No Talking Turkey in Rotterdam - Major Diplomatic Incident

Turkish minister blocked by Dutch police from entering Rotterdam Consulate - reports

Turkish minister blocked by Dutch police from entering Rotterdam Consulate - reports
Police block off the street outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam © Yves Herman / Reuters

Turkey's Family Affairs Minister has been blocked by Dutch police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands, according to broadcaster NOS News.

The news outlet posted footage purportedly showing the minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, surrounded by police after she stepped out of her car.

Anadolu reports that the Dutch police also blocked its correspondents along with reporters from Turkey’s TRT channel, who were with the minister to cover her visit.

Earlier there were reports that the minister was arrested by they were later dismissed.

Channels CNN Turk and NTV earlier reported that the convoy of Turkey's family minister was stopped at the Netherlands border.

The incident involving the Turkish family minister comes just hours after Dutch authorities revoked authorization for the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight, hours after he had warned that Turkey would retaliate if his visit was canceled.

Earlier, he insisted that he would go ahead with his visit to Rotterdam even if local Dutch authorities did not agree to his taking part in a rally promoting a change in Turkey’s constitution.

Cavusoglu intended to campaign at the rally to drum up votes in favor of an April referendum that would give the Turkish president new powers, but Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, banned the Turkish official from speaking in public in the city late Friday.

Just moments ago it was made known that the Dutch embassy and consulate in Turkey have been closed off for security reasons, according to Reuters citing Turkish foreign ministry sources.

Another source reports: The street where the consulate building is located (the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam) has been closed right after Kaya announced she was going to hold a meeting to address Turkish citizens for the upcoming referendum.

The family minister's vehicle was intercepted by Dutch police while entering the country.

Let's try and unpack this information to attempt to get at what is really going on here. First - The Turkish FM was refused permission to enter the Netherlands to speak at a rally in support of the constitutional changes to be voted on in Turkey next month. Those changes mean more power for Erdogan and are a big step in his quest for Caliph-like powers. Talk of the possibility of him being refused led the FM to threaten retaliation if it occurred. Nevertheless, it occurred. 

Meanwhile, Turkey's Family Affairs Minister was in Rotterdam. It is not clear what she was told when she entered the country it appears she was prevented from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam to prevent her from holding a meeting or making a statement regarding the referendum. 

Another factor may be that the mayor of Rotterdam is named Ahmed Aboutaleb - good Dutch name! Aboutaleb is a Muslim from Morocco and is of Berber descent. That probably does not factor into the equation but one never knows in the complex and competitive world of Islam.

To summarize, The Netherlands strongly opposes Edrogan's move to increase his own power and they are willing to trash diplomatic relations with Turkey to take a stand against him. I like it!