ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday told the Dutch prime minister he had lost Turkey as a friend, despite Mark Rutte’s victory over the far-right in parliamentary elections.
“Hey Rutte! You may have emerged as the number one party in the election but you must know that you have lost Turkey as your friend,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, amid a diplomatic crisis with The Hague due to the blocking of campaign rallies by Turkish ministers.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier said there was “no difference” between the ruling Dutch liberals and the “fascist” anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders.
Cavusoglu also predicted that “religious wars” will start in Europe due to the rise of the far right.
Turkey and Europe have been locked in a diplomatic spat after The Netherlands and Germany blocked
Turkish ministers from holding campaign rallies to secure a ‘yes’ vote in next month’s referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.
Erdogan ridiculed Rutte who Turkish officials said had told Prime Minister Binali Yildirim that the two sides could iron out their differences over dinner.
“He says ‘we can have dinner with the prime minister after the election’. There’s no such prime minister. You have lost” Turkey, said Erdogan.—AFP