The nation of Turkey has been of central importance in European politics in recent years and after the failed “coup” this past summer it seems that their leader is attempting to ratchet up the pressure on his European neighbors.
The community of Turks in the Netherlands recently rioted after a Turkish diplomat was barred from entering the country and speaking at a rally. The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had sent the diplomat in an effort to help rally the more than 4 and a half million Turks living in Western Europe, to vote in an upcoming Turkish referendum that would give him more power and eliminate the power of the Turkish parliament.
If passed, the referendum would transform Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential one, effectively consolidating the power of three legislative bodies into one executive branch under Erdogan.
Germany, Austria and Switzerland sought to prevent referendum rallies taking place on their soil — citing security and overcrowding concerns.
Erdogan lashed out in retaliation and said that the Netherlands were sacrificing their relationship with Turkey by mistreating their people, he even compared the Netherlands decision to how the Nazi’s would have acted. “Nazism is still widespread in Europe,” Erdogan told the media.
The conflict comes just ahead of Wednesday’s national election in the Netherlands where the debate over Islam and illegal immigration promises to be a central theme. In the wake of the riots, the man who is the odds-on favorite to receive the most support in the upcoming election, Geert Wilders, told Turkey where they could put their anger.