Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the Dutch as “Nazi remnants and fascists” after the Dutch government on Saturday canceled the Turkish foreign minister’s landing permission. Authorities in the Netherlands stripped the Turkish minister of his landing rights ahead of a planned rally in support of a controversial Turkish referendum. Rotterdam’s mayor had earlier banned the rally over “risks to public order and security,” though Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had vowed to speak at the rally despite the ban. The security concerns cited by the Dutch mayor were shared by authorities in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, where separate rallies were also blocked. The April 16 referendum on constitutional reform has been met with concern in parts of Europe, with some worried that by expanding Erdogan’s powers, it would pave the way to full-on authoritarian rule.
Erdogan responded to the Netherlands’ move on Saturday by promising retaliation. “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 was cited as saying by the BBC. Earlier, he accused German authorities of “Nazi" practices for barring another rally in support of a “yes” vote in the referendum. The Dutch government said it was trying to find an “acceptable solution” to Cavsoglu’s campaign plans, but “before these talks were completed, Turkish authorities publicly threatened sanctions. That makes the search for a reasonable solution impossible.” It said the Turkish government “does not want to respect the rules” for public meetings in the Netherlands.