Turkish Riots in Rotterdam Threaten Dutch Political Stability Ahead of Elections This Week
The Reuters picture above of supporters of Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan are not from Istanbul or Ankara, but from riots overnight in Rotterdam that threaten the stability of the Netherlands ahead of Dutch parliamentary elections later this week.
The Rotterdam riots, which required a state of emergency to be declared by the Dutch government, are part of a larger unfolding drama involving provocations by the Turkish government inciting millions of Turkish citizens living in European countries.
The current crisis began when the Dutch government prevented the Turkish foreign minister from landing in the Netherlands to hold a political rally in Rotterdam in support of dictator Erdogan and an upcoming referendum in Turkey intended to give Erdogan more power. The foreign minister then landed in Metz, France.
Several hundred demonstrators waving Turkish flags gathered outside the Turkish consulate in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday, demanding to see the Turkish minister for family affairs as a dispute between the two countries escalated.
Police erected metal barriers and patrolled on horseback to keep the demonstrators away from the consulate as the crowd grew with more pro-Turkish protesters arriving from Germany.
Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya traveled by road to the Netherlands from neighboring Germany after the Dutch government revoked landing rights for a plane carrying Turkey's foreign minister earlier on Saturday.
Dutch TV footage showed police stopping the minister's convoy near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam and preventing her from entering the building.
The Dutch government said it did not want Turkish politicians campaigning among Turkish emigres in the Netherlands, leading President Tayyip Erdogan to brand the fellow NATO member a "Nazi remnant".
After Dutch authorities declared Turkish Family Minister Kaya persona non grata and a confrontation with Dutch police prevented her from approaching the consulate, with Kaya locking herself in an armored car and police beginning to tow away the car with her in it, she eventually got into another car and was deported to the German border from where she entered the country.