Turkey summons Dutch envoy over Rotterdam police action

The Dutch government on Saturday barred a Turkish foreign minister's aircraft from landing, drawing a furious reaction from the Turkish president and escalating a diplomatic dispute between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over campaigning for a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform.

The dispute worsened on Sunday as foreign ministers from each country traded barbs after Turkish Family Affairs Minister Fatma Kaya was denied entry into her consulate and escorted to the border with Germany.

"Hey Holland! If you are sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday, you will pay a price", an angry Erdogan told a ceremony in Istanbul, referring to the upcoming legislative polls in Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. The constitutional changes would give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers. "But I understand they are angry but this is of course way out of line".

Protesters wave flags outside the Dutch consulate in central Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue, the main shopping road of Istanbul.

Mr Rutte also stressed that Dutch officials had earlier discussed whether the planned rally with Mr Cavusoglu could be private and "smaller-scale" and held in a Turkish consulate or embassy.

And Turkey has summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara for an explanation.

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Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said the Dutch ambassador would be barred from returning to Ankara, and high-level political discussions suspended. Turkey will "surely have sanctions" against the Netherlands, Turkish EU Minister Omer Celik told Reuters Monday.

"How will your country's [diplomatic] flights come here now after not granting permission to our foreign minister?"

"I am going to Rotterdam today (Saturday)", Cavusoglu told CNN-Turk television in an interview.

Turkey's government wants to campaign to foreign-based citizens that can vote in a referendum on April 16th.

At least 300,000 Austrian residents are estimated to be of Turkish origin and Turkish ministers are said to be planning to campaign in several European Union countries before the vote.

He added, "If tension will increase (between the two countries) because of my visit, then let it increase".

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Rutte said he was anxious about the damage to the Netherlands' image in the world if the far right wins the election.

It said the Turkish government "does not want to respect the rules in this matter".

Mr Cavusoglu also referred to possible sanctions.

He said, too, that it was "wrong" for Turkey to send political representatives to the Netherlands in spite the Dutch government's warning that it could inflame tensions.

Erdogan accused the Netherlands of working against the "Yes" campaign and said: "Pressure however much you like".

About 1,000 people waving Turkish flags gathered on the street leading to the consulate, an AFP photographer saw, as tensions rocketed over rallies overseas to help Ankara gain backing for an April referendum vote.

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