France, Germany support Netherlands in Turkey row, NATO calls for de-escalation

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In this file photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaking to a press conference

France and Germany expressed their support for the Netherlands in the political dispute  between the Netherlands and Turkey.

In the meantime, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called for a de-escalation in the situation.

The spat with Turkey boils down to the Netherlands refusing two Turkish Ministers access to the country to campaign for a referendum in Turkey next month that would give Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power, according to reports.

Turkey’s Erdogan responded by accusing the Netherlands of Nazism and fascism.

On Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she fully supports the Netherlands in this dispute and that the Netherlands can count on Germany’s “full support and solidarity”, RTL Nieuws reported.

Merkel strongly criticized Erdogan’s statement about the Dutch government being “Nazi leftovers”.

“Comparisons with the Nazi’s are entirely inappropriate,” Merkel stressed.

France also stated that it stands behind the Netherlands, according to the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Erdogan’s statements about Nazism and fascism “unacceptable” and demanded Turkey to abide to the European Conventions on Human Rights.

NATO called for calm in the political dispute.

“Robust discussions are the heart of democracy, but also respect. I urge all NATO allies to show respect for one another and to de-escalate the situation”, Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Monday, the Telegraaf reports. “We should make every effort to focus on what unites us, not what divides us sometimes.”

NATO chief added that NATO will not withdraw from Turkey over this spat. “The presence of NATO in Turkey is good for Turkey and the rest of Europe. It is in our common interest.”

Denmark was the first EU country to show solidarity with the Netherlands, saying it would postpone a visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

According to the Turkish analyst Aaron Stein, Turkey is trying to escalate tensions with EU countries in order to gain more nationalist votes.

Hence, underscoring what this election is all about: Identity politics and moving the needle to the nationalist right to win more yes votes.

“To drive up “yes” votes, AKP needs a big turn out in EU capitals, in addition to more MHP votes swinging to the “yes” column before Apr. 16,” Stein said.

“Throughout the Tulipnonsense, MHP and AKP leaders continued to escalate rhetoric. Why not: It helps with Magdur politics,” he said.

Source: ARA News & Agencies 

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