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Çavuşoğlu talks on phone with Dutch FM amid tension

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (R) and his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders (L) hold a bilateral meeting within the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels, Belgium on December 06, 2016.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to his Dutch counterpart, Bert Koenders, by phone on Thursday as a crisis over his upcoming visit to the Netherlands persists, Cumhuriyet reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the request for the call came from the Netherlands.
“I will go to the Netherlands. No obstacle can stop us… We will not succumb to fascists and racists like [Geert] Wilders,” Çavuşoğlu said in a statement earlier Thursday.

In front of the Turkish Embassy in The Hague on Wednesday, Dutch far-right Freedom Party (Partij Voor De Vrijheid, PVV) leader Wilders protested the Turkish government’s intention to campaign in the Netherlands in favor of an April 16 referendum in Turkey. Wilders held a banner reading “Get out! This is our land” during the demonstration.

On Wednesday the Sputnik news website reported that Çavuşoğlu had canceled his Netherlands campaign program, planned to be held in Rotterdam on March 11, after the Dutch government announced last week that Çavuşoğlu’s planned rallies were “undesirable.”

Following the cancellations by local German authorities of two Turkish ministers’ rallies, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Facebook last Friday that the government had received confirmation that day from Turkish authorities that a campaign event in the Netherlands was planned.

Rutte said: “We will not cooperate with this [request]. We believe this is undesirable. We believe that the Dutch public space is not the place for political campaigns in other countries.”

According to a story by Reuters last Friday, the leader of an association of Dutch Turks said Çavuşoğlu was planning to attend the March 11 rally in Rotterdam in order to persuade Turkish expatriates in the Netherlands about a referendum on April 16 that will expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and switch Turkey to an executive presidency.

After a change in venue by local German authorities due to security reasons, Çavuşoğlu gave a speech in Hamburg on Tuesday, addressing Turkish expatriates.

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