Dutch politicians have blasted plans for Turkey’s foreign minister to hold a series of events in the country in favour of Turkish electoral reforms.
These events attended by Mevlut Cavusoglu call for a referendum which would give controversial Turkish leader Reycep Erdogan even more power – amid accusations of horrific crackdowns on freedom of speech and civil rights.
With Turkish citizens in other countries allowed a postal vote, Mr Erdogan’s administration are rallying support among those living outside the country.
Due to concerns about Mr Erdogan’s leadership, however, several EU states have spoken out against such events – or even banned them.
Earlier this week Mr Wilders, leader of the anti-migrant Freedom Party, told Mr Cavusoglu to stay away.
He said: “This is Holland, so stay away. And I hope the Dutch government will be a little bit more tough and tell them that they are not welcome to lobby here.
“We are not a country where foreign people who support people like Mr Erdogan [can] give him even more power and give him more autocracy.”
In response, Mr Cavusoglu said: “I will go to the Netherlands, no such obstacle can stop us… We will not succumb to fascists and racists like Wilders.”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also spoken out against the events, claiming they would only lead to more trouble.
The Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said: “We will not take part in the visit of a Turkish government representative who leads a political campaign for the referendum.Therefore, we will not cooperate.
Switzerland also attempted, unsuccessfully, to ban such an event, while Germany has repeatedly cancelled them.
In response Mr Erdogan accused the Netherlands of acting like Nazis.
He said: “This is a totally repressive system. All practices resemble those of the Nazi era.”
A furious Angela Merkel said in response: “We will not allow the victims of the Nazis to be trivialised – these comparisons of Germany with Nazism must stop.
“They are unworthy of the close ties between Germany and Turkey and of our peoples.”