How Turkey suddenly changed its Dutch dates

In the space of five days, Turkey brought forward its Netherlands referendum event to before the Dutch election

In the space of five days, Turkey brought forward its Netherlands referendum event to before the Dutch election

Last Monday 6 March, 2.92 million people watched Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım tell two interviewers on atv that a Yes campaign event in the Netherlands was unlikely before the Dutch general election.

Although he incorrectly said the election will be on 14 March (it’s scheduled for the 15th), he correctly pointed out the narrow poll gap between the governing VVD and far-right PVV.

This means a Turkish referendum campaign event “does not look possible” before the Dutch election but adds: “I do not think Holland will impose such a restriction after the 14th.”

They are for turning

Fast-forward to Saturday and the Turkish government’s position has changed entirely.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the foreign minister, told CNN Turk that he will be getting on a plane to the Netherlands that same day, despite Dutch warnings that his landing rights would be revoked.

“They are threatening the Republic of Turkey’s foreign minister,” Mr Çavuşoğlu says.

And so he went. And so he was turned away.

That same day, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses a public rally to denounce the Dutch government as “Nazi remnants” and fascists.

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