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In the past few days, the relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey has turned sour due to a decision made by the Dutch government to deny the campaigning visit of two Turkish ministers.
With the upcoming Turkish constitutional referendum on April 16th 2017 - which would enable more Presidential power for Erdogan and his successors if a majority of 'yes' votes is reached - Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policies, and Mevlüt Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, planned to visit the Netherlands to gain support for the referendum among Dutch citizens with Turkish or dual nationality.

Far-right and anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders was one of the first to immediately ask for a political debate on the coming visits, in an effort to reach consensus to prevent them from taking place. Soon after, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte - with full support from the House of Representatives - decided to bar both Sayan Kaya and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu from visiting, supposedly because of "a danger to public order and for security reasons". Interestingly, this decision actually triggered mayhem in the streets.

Also, a week earlier, Rutte wrote on his Facebook page that "the Dutch public space is not the place to conduct another country's political campaign". However, when Dutch politicians (including Han ten Broeke, a member of Rutte's own political party), 'conduct their country's political campaign' in the UK, it is apparently considered perfectly normal.

Regardless of the lack of Dutch hospitality, Sayan Kaya still decided to go to the Netherlands, and arrived in the city of Rotterdam in the evening on Saturday March 11th, but was 'escorted' by police officers to Germany, where she took a plane back to Turkey. Cavusoglu, on the other hand reached the French city of Metz, where he will give his talk, after his initial plan to speak in Rotterdam was thwarted due to his landing rights being revoked.

The Netherlands has now joined three other nations who have banned similar meetings by Turkish officials: Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. These actions clearly further the agenda to alienate Erdogan from EU nations, as a response to his efforts to strengthen Turkey's relationship with - the US Deep State's, and therefore EU's, worst enemy - Russia.

'No' camp allowed, 'Yes' camp not allowed

While the media widely covered the upcoming visits of both of Erdogan's ministers, there was little media coverage of the visits from Turkish political campaigners against the Turkish referendum, all of whom have been allowed to address their audiences in EU nations.

An article published on March 4th by Dutch news outlet NOS notes that during a meeting among no-voters of the referendum a few weeks back in the Netherlands, Keklik Yucel, Dutch member of the Labor Party no less, said: "Here we'll have the Dutch elections on March 15th, that's very important. But April 16th in Turkey is even more important. We have to take that very seriously. Everybody in the Netherlands and Turkey has to practice their voting rights. 'No' is the only answer to this referendum."

According to the article, a group of Turkish parliamentarians will arrive in the Netherlands to gain more votes against the referendum. In response to this, Rutte said he was 'not aware' of the no-campaign in the Netherlands: "This is news to me. We'll first investigate the matter and see if that's allowed." Since then, little has come out in the media regarding this.

This was not, however, news to pro-referendum campaign leader Mustafa Aslan in the Netherlands, who was deeply shocked upon hearing that Cavusoglu was not allowed to campaign in Rotterdam, and said: "If people from the 'no' camp are allowed to organize meetings, people from the 'yes' camp should be allowed to do so as well, right? In August we had a meeting with politicians from the AK party, which was no problem at the time. I don't understand. There are no laws or treaties that forbid this."
erdogan swiss newspaper
© Blick
Swiss paper urges Turks to vote ‘no’ in referendum, calls Erdogan dictator - 'No' campaigners have not faced any obstacles for holding meetings in European countries.
The timing of these visit refusals is interesting, as on March 10th, the day before both Turkish ministers were to arrive in the Netherlands, Erdogan met with Putin to discuss bilateral cooperation between their respective countries.

Anti-Erdogan propaganda

In order to understand the bigger picture here, one should keep in mind that in the past couple of years, Dutch journalists and politicians have gone into overdrive when it comes to casting Erdogan in the worst possible light.

Since the failed, US-backed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, Erdogan has been cleaning house in order to prevent a similar illegal coup from ever happening again. An understandable response from any leader who would be in a similar situation. However, headlines and statements emerged from Dutch politicians and journalists who claim that Erdogan is a 'ruthless dictator for firing so many teachers, policemen and lawyers'. Other examples of anti-Erdogan propagandists from the EU include Dutch politician Alexander Pechtold, who claimed that Erdogan is "not a democrat, but a dictator". Would-be Dutch Prime Minister Geert Wilders has stated that he regrets the fact that the coup in Turkey failed, and Dutch journalist Fidan Ekiz wrote that "we now have a type of Putin in Turkey", and went on to explain:
"Erdogan will continue his witch hunt, until no one dares to open his mouth anymore. There is no longer a democracy, in fact, he is using democracy to expand his power. Perhaps this was his plan, after all he did say: 'Democracy is like a train, you get off once you have reached your destination'."
Truth be told, if the majority of the Turkish people were truly unhappy with Erdogan ruling their country, they would not have taken to the streets en mass to prevent the coup attempt succeeding.

All those who have been paying attention to geopolitical world events over the past 15 years must surely be skeptical of the 'dictator' narrative as it is used by Western politicians. We've all seen it used already against Gaddafi, Assad, and Putin, all three leaders being very much supported and loved by the majority of their people. Clearly, something stinks when Erdogan is tarred with the same inane brush.

SOTT Editor Joe Quinn explained at the time of the failed Turkish coup attempt:
Writing on the wall for Erdogan: Align with Russia, Iran and Syria or Turkey's destruction awaits

Mon, 25 Jul 2016

On the positive side, there are signs that Erdogan is finally waking up to some harsh geopolitical realities. It was, after all, his decision to turn towards Russia and modify his belligerent stance on Syria that triggered the Anglo-American axis of 'creative destruction' move to oust him. This was an act of desperation by Western powers, but it also very nearly succeeded. ...

While ignorant Western commentators self-righteously and hypocritically condemn this cleansing of the Turkish political, military and public sectors, they fail to understand that such measures are necessary in order to prevent the 'Syrianization' of Turkey. However 'horrid' and 'undemocratic' the Western media may portray Erdogan's 'cleaning house', consider that the alternative is likely tens or hundreds of thousands of ordinary Turkish men, women and children being blown to pieces in a 'civil war'. ...

As a long-time NATO member, Western influence within Turkey's military and political infrastructure is but one inevitable result. It goes way beyond that though. Long-term exposure to US influence means that, today, the very fabric of Turkish society - certainly among its intelligentsia - has been molded in the image of its creator(s): the 'reality-creators' of Washington and Wall Street. Erdogan now knows he can count on majority public support, but the path of transition from NATO subordination to Eurasian integration will be a tricky one, and almost certainly see the Empire use every dirty trick in the book to bring Erdogan and the Turkish people to their knees. The only chance the Turks have of weathering such a storm is to seek safe harbor in the arms of Mother Russia and friends.
Take-home message

Since the failed coup attempt, relations between Russia and Turkey have become stronger. As put forward during the latest Behind the Headlines SOTT Radio Show, if the majority of Turkish people in Turkey and abroad vote 'yes' for the referendum, this will mean more power for Erdogan and therefore a better ability to take out any remaining or appearing 5th columnists who may attempt to (1) sabotage Turkey's relationship with Russia (as they attempted with the downing of a Russian jet) (2) stage another coup (3) use the Kurds to carve out a Kurdistan in Northern Syria and Southern Turkey, a new country that would be controlled by the West and act as a barrier to Iranian and Russian (energy) influence in the region (4) bring terrorism and chaos to the Turkish people.

But the Deep State in the US, and their followers in the EU, are not happy when any country, especially a NATO member, starts to build close ties with Russia. Therefore, Erdogan certainly ought to be prevented from acquiring the power necessary to run Turkey as an independent nation. All of this explains why there has been such a critical response to Turkish yes-campaigners, and not to the no-campaigners in the Netherlands and other EU nations. In a nutshell, it has little to do with 'danger to public order' or 'the Dutch public space not being a space for foreign political campaigns', and everything to do with thwarting efforts by Erdogan to gain more control over his own country and its future.
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Putin and Erdogan during their meeting on March 10th, 2017. A picture that wouldn't get many 'likes' from 5th columnists in Turkey, the CIA and the West.
Possible repercussions

As a response to this latest act by the Netherlands, Turkey has vowed to 'retaliate in harshest ways', which may include sanctions. As of now, Turkish Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus has said at a news conference that Turkey has suspended all high-level diplomatic talks, and that diplomatic flights to Turkey will be stopped. Earlier, it was declared that the Dutch ambassador is not welcome to return to Turkey. As if to highlight the geo-political reality behind this 'diplomatic row', part of Erdogan's response to the treatment meted out to his ministers in the EU was to state (again) that all terrorists in the Middle East are armed by Western nations:
"The West arms all terrorists in the Middle East. Although the West still denies this fact, Ankara has documentary evidence of arms deliveries. There also are photos on which terrorists are wearing uniforms of these countries," Erdogan said, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.
Don't expect to see that little piece of news widely reported by the Western press.

Reuters recently reported that Erdogan mentioned during a live broadcast on television that they will "carry out whatever our diplomatic sanctions are... We will make sure the Netherlands are rapidly held accountable for this," adding, "They use international law whenever it suits them, they make excuses for it. We will go to the European Court of Human Rights as well. Our friends are currently making the necessary preparations."

Considering that trade between the Netherlands and Turkey has tripled in the past ten years, any imposed (counter-)sanctions will cause damage to the economy in both countries. Hardworking Dutch citizens already have suffered losses as a result of their leaders playing the anti-Russia game along with their Western partners, and they may very likely have shot themselves in the foot once again.