AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Saturday barred a plane carrying Turkey’s foreign minister from landing, saying his visit would be a threat to public order.
The move comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he would travel to Rotterdam, despite a ban on him addressing a rally there. The Dutch are due to vote in a national election on Wednesday, in which anti-immigration sentiment has played a prominent role.
Rutte said in a statement published on his official Facebook page that Turkey had upset discussions under which Cavusoglu would have been allowed to enter the country, by calling for a massive public rally.
Turkey summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to the Foreign Ministry on Saturday, foreign ministry sources said, as a row between the two countries escalated with the Dutch government banning Turkey’s Foreign Minister from flying to Rotterdam.
Cavusoglu said on Saturday he would fly anyway, and had been expected to appear at the Turkish consulate, as he had done when city authorities in Hamburg banned him from speaking last week.
“If my going will increase tensions, let it be,” he told CNN Turk. “What damage will my going have on them? I am a foreign minister and I can go wherever I want.”
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said that while the Netherlands and Turkey could search for “an acceptable solution”, Turkey was not respecting the rules relating to public gatherings.
“Many Dutch people with a Turkish background are authorized to vote in the referendum over the Turkish constitution. The Dutch government does not have any protest against gatherings in our country to inform them about it,” he said on Facebook.
“But these gatherings may not contribute to tensions in our society and everyone who wants to hold a gathering is obliged to follow instructions of those in authority so that public order and safety can be guaranteed,” Rutte added. — Reuters