World, Middle East

Regional actors slam Dutch 'escalations' against Turkey

Middle Eastern political figures slam Amsterdam’s policy of stopping Turkish officials from addressing local expat community

13.03.2017
Regional actors slam Dutch 'escalations' against Turkey Dutch police intervene the Turkish citizens gathering outside Turkish consulate in Rotterdam to protest Dutch government after its ban on ministers, in Rotterdam, Netherlands on March 12, 2017. ( Paco Nunez - Anadolu Agency )

By Ahmed al-Masri and Anadolu Agency correspondents

ARAB CAPITALS

Arab politicians, rights activists and academics on Monday condemned the Dutch government’s recent decision to prevent two Turkish government ministers from addressing members of Holland’s Turkish expatriate community.

On Saturday, the Dutch government prevented Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering Holland before forcing Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, too, to leave the country.

The two ministers had been due to address a meeting of Turkish expatriates ahead of a scheduled April 16 constitutional referendum in Turkey.

In remarks to Anadolu Agency and on social media, Arab political figures and academics described the Dutch government moves as “diplomatic aggression” and "blatant interference" in Turkish domestic affairs.

From Morocco, Khaled al-Rahmouni, a leader of Morocco’s Justice and Development Party, described the actions as “aggressive, undemocratic and uncivilized".

Moroccan rights activist Hasan al-Hasani Alaoui, for his part, described them as a “violation of diplomatic norms” and “unacceptable behavior that creates an atmosphere of tension”.

Ayman Nour, leader of Egypt’s liberal Ghad al-Thawra Party, likewise described the Dutch actions as “unacceptable”.

The moves, he said, “reveal the intellectual and political extremism that is currently sweeping the West and a hatred of Muslims and Arabs”.

Mohamed Osman Saleh, head of the Sudanese Scholars Association, for his part, described the actions as “unjustified” and “hostile”.

The leader of Sudan’s Al-Wasat Party, Yousuf al-Koda, meanwhile, demanded that Holland issue an apology, saying the incident “contradicts everything that Europe claims to stand for in terms of human rights and democracy”.

Kamal Omar, political secretary of Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party, said the Dutch government’s behavior had revealed to the world "the implicit hostility against Turkey’s government, which stands as a role model for Muslim democracies”.

From Palestine, Bilal Shobaki, a political science professor at Al-Khalil University, said the Dutch actions were an indication of Europe’s “desire to escalate the situation with Turkey”.

The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars also condemned Amsterdam’s “unacceptable” treatment of Turkish government ministers, calling on the entire Muslim world to show solidarity with the Turkish government.

And from the Arabian Gulf, Ahmed bin Rashid bin Saeed, a professor of political media at Riyadh’s King Saud University, said: “The constitutional amendments on which the Turkish people will vote next month will make Turkey stronger and more stable. This is what frightens Europe."

Jaber al-Harami, editor-in-chief of Qatar’s Al-Sharq newspaper, for his part, asked via Twitter: “Why is Europe afraid of change in Turkey?"

Former Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi, meanwhile, tweeted: “The Turkish government's efforts to promote constitutional change are entirely democratic.”

He added: “There is no explanation for the harassment campaigns [against Turkey] being waged by certain European countries, which are behaving like totalitarian regimes."

And from Lebanon, Nabil al-Halabi, director of the Live Foundation (which is devoted to democratization and human rights advocacy), asserted: "Europe’s extreme right is perturbed by Turkey's economic, political and democratic ascendance in the era of the AK [Justice and Development] Party.” 

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