World, Europe

Dutch far-right leader protests Turkish FM's visit

Far-right Geert Wilders protests in front of Turkish Embassy in The Hague against referendum rally by Mevlut Cavusoglu

Dutch far-right leader protests Turkish FM's visit

By Abdullah Asiran

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders Wednesday protested against Turkish foreign minister's plan to campaign in the Netherlands for Turkey’s constitutional change referendum.

In front of Turkish Embassy in The Hague, the Freedom Party (PVV) leader protested against any referendum rally by Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Alongside banners in Turkish and Dutch reading, "Stay away, this is our country,” Wilders read out a press release saying the constitutional changes would give too much power to the president.

“We cannot allow Turkish ministers to come to the Netherlands to lobby for such a regime in our country,” he said.

Wilders complained that the Dutch government had done too little to prevent the event, adding that he wants Turkish government ministers declared "persona non grata" until the April 16 referendum.

If Cavusoglu arrives in the Netherlands on Saturday he should be turned and sent back with Turkey’s ambassador, Wilders.

"This is our country, we do not accept Turkish ministers campaigning in our country."

Wilders argued that Turkish officials should do their campaigning in Turkey, saying, "I think people with dual citizenship in the Netherlands should not have the right to vote in elections."

A rally for Turkey's April 16 referendum on constitutional changes was banned by Dutch officials last Friday.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday said on Facebook, "The Netherlands is not a place for other countries' election rallies."

"We believe that the Dutch public space is not the place for political campaigns of other countries," he added.

However, Cavusoglu later said the Netherlands could not restrict Turkish officials. "We go wherever we want and meet with our citizens," he said. 

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.