By Abdullah Asiran
A former Dutch soldier suffered head injuries during protests in front of the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam Saturday when people gathered in support of Turkey’s family minister as she was being blocked by the Dutch government.
Halil Ibrahim Kurt is a Turkish citizen and also a retired Dutch soldier. He and his younger brother Huseyin Kurt were among the thousands of Turkish citizens gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam over the weekend.
On Saturday, the Dutch government first canceled the Turkish foreign minister's flight permit to the Netherlands and then blocked a convoy carrying Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya and forced her to leave the country under police escort.
The ministers had been due to meet Turkish residents ahead of an April 16 referendum on constitutional changes.
Hardly able to speak due to his injuries, Kurt told Anadolu Agency that the Dutch police had blocked all roads when they reached the Turkish Consulate building and then the police suddenly began attacking the crowd.
“The police hit me with batons several times,” Kurt said. “Then I saw my brother lying on the ground and a police officer was attacking him with a police dog.”
His brother Huseyin Kurt was bitten on his calf as Dutch police unleashed a security dog on them.
The last thing Halil Ibrahim Kurt remembered was a blow to his head. “I don’t remember anything after that as I fainted. I was in the hospital when I woke up.”
After both were examined by doctors, Kurt was released from the hospital with his brother.
Kurt said he was more upset over Kaya being kept in her car for hours than the police attack on them.
Last week, Turkish government ministers were also barred from holding public rallies in two German cities ahead of the April 16 referendum in Turkey.