Erdogan slams Dutch over Cavusoglu ban

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Turkey's family minister will travel to the Dutch city of Rotterdam by land, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Saturday, after the Dutch government barred the country's foreign minister from landing his plane there.

He had been pressing a campaign among Turkish expatriates to support President Tayyip Erdogan's proposals for extended executive powers.

Mr Cavusoglu had threatened economic sanctions against the Netherlands if his landing rights were rescinded, after he had been forced to address Turkish citizens in Hamburg from an embassy balcony after local Germany authorities cancelled rallies there citing public safety.

Turkey has asked off-duty Dutch ambassador to not return for a while, said a foreign ministry statement Saturday.

Mr Cavusoglu also warned Turkey would impose heavy sanctions if his visit were blocked.

According to the statement, the ministry expressed Turkey's request to the Dutch charge d'affaires that "the Dutch ambassador who is on leave overseas [should] not return for a while".

The Dutch government said it did not want Turkish politicians campaigning among Turkish emigres in the Netherlands.


His comments, made late Thursday following a telephone call with his Dutch counterpart, were reported in the Turkish media on Friday.

"Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on, let's see how your flights will land in Turkey", he added.

While Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded that Turkey release a jailed German-Turkish reporter whom Erdogan has described as a spy, Ankara is pressing Germany to extradite fugitive military officers involved in the coup attempt.

A referendum on constitutional amendments, which provide for introduction of presidential system in Turkey, will be held on April. 16.

"We will not participate in a visit by a Turkish government official who wants to conduct a political campaign for a referendum", Koenders said.

Relations between Ankara and the European Union have deteriorated significantly in the previous year amid the arrest of thousands of people in purges and security crackdowns after an attempted coup in July.

Erdogan's ministers are keen to tap into the diaspora in Germany, which includes 1.4 million people eligible to vote in Turkey - the fourth-largest electoral base after Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

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