Turkey said Monday it is suspending high-level ties with The Netherlands as part of a series of sanctions protesting moves by Dutch authorities to bar Turkish ministers from holding rallies in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The two countries have been at odds for days after Turkey’s foreign minister and home minister were prevented from attending events meant to boost support for an upcoming referendum that would give Erdogan wider power.
Monday’s sanctions include banning the Dutch ambassador, who is currently out of the country, from returning to Turkey and suspending diplomatic flights.The range of sanctions did not appear to include economic measures or travel restrictions for ordinary citizens.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters the measures would remain in place until The Netherlands takes steps to “redress” its actions.Turkish officials also said the government should reevaluate its cooperation with the European Union on preventing the flow of migrants across land.
Erdogan has drawn condemnation for accusing The Netherlands of acting like Nazis in banning his ministers from holding rallies.
On Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn called on Turkey to “refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation.”
The two EU officials said, “It is essential to avoid further escalation and find ways to calm down the situation.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey and its NATO allies to “show mutual respect, to be calm and have a measured approach to contribute to de-escalate the tensions.”
After Erdogan’s Nazi comparison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Dutch government has her “full support and solidarity.” German forces bombed and occupied the Netherlands during World War II.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Erdogan’s Nazi claim “a crazy remark.”The Dutch leader faces his own tough re-election battle, Wednesday’s vote against the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders.