Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday that a remark by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan comparing the Dutch to the Nazis was “way out of line.”
Erdoğan denounced the Netherlands as “Nazi remnants, fascists” after the Dutch government withdrew permission for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s aircraft to land there for a campaign rally urging “yes” votes in a referendum to be held in Turkey on April 16.
“It’s a crazy remark, of course,” Rutte told journalists while campaigning for a March 15 election. “I understand they’re angry, but this, of course, was way out of line.”
“They are so timid, they are so cowardly. They are Nazi remnants, they are fascists,” said Erdoğan in reference to the Dutch during a speech in İstanbul on Saturday.
Çavuşoğlu was scheduled to fly to Rotterdam on Saturday for a campaign rally, but the flight clearance for his airplane was canceled just hours before his flight.
In another controversial speech last week, Erdoğan also accused Germany of employing practices similar to those of the Nazi era by refusing to allow two Turkish ministers to deliver speeches in the country in support of a constitutional reform package that will be put to a public vote in April.
Turkey’s relations with Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have been strained over these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold rallies there ahead of the public referendum in Turkey.