A row between Turkey and the Netherlands escalated Saturday as a Turkish minister was prevented from entering her country's embassy in Rotterdam, the foreign minister's landing rights were revoked and Turkey's president dubbed the Dutch "fascists."
The already strained ties between Europe and Ankara have deteriorated sharply over Turkish rallies planned in European cities. Turkish government officials are trying to whip up support among citizens living abroad for an upcoming referendum on vastly expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayin Kaya posted on Twitter that she was stopped 30 metres outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam. The state-run Anadolu news agency said she was also stopped at the border by police before she entered the country from Germany.
Earlier, Turkey's top diplomat, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had been scheduled to address a campaign rally at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam but was not allowed to land in the Netherlands after he threatened the country with sanctions should he be denied entry.
The Dutch government said in a statement that allowing Cavusoglu to hold the rally posed a security risk and his threat "made the search for a sensible solution impossible." The government had previously said a rally could not be held.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires to Ankara and told the Netherland's ambassador, who is currently not in the country, to refrain from returning for some time.
A statement from the ministry also threatened "serious consequences in the diplomatic, political, economic and other fields."
The Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul were then reportedly closed off for security concerns, according to Anadolu.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then called the Dutch government "Nazi remnants," and warned there could be retalitory measures.
"From now on, let's see how your planes come to Turkey," Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul, according to Anadolu, the state-run news agency. He also called the Dutch "fascists."
Several Turkish campaign rallies in support of the April 16 referendum have been cancelled in European countries, including Germany and Austria.
Hundreds of Turkish government supporters had gathered outside the consulate in Rotterdam, some chanting slogans in favour of Erdogan and waving red-and-white Turkish flags.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul airport, Cavusoglu - who is expected in France on Sunday - called the Dutch action "scandalous" and "unbecoming of diplomatic conventions."
He accused the Dutch government of taking sides in the referendum, saying the Netherlands was afraid of a "yes" outcome because then Turkey "will become stronger, a more independent country."
The European Union criticizes Turkey for what it sees as increasingly authoritarian tendencies, including declining press freedoms and crackdowns on the opposition.
More than 140 journalists are in jail and an extended crackdown since a coup attempt last year has seen more than 40,000 people jailed and tens of thousands purged from the civil service.
The human rights-focused Council of Europe said this week that the referendum threatens to turn Turkey into a "one-person regime."
But the EU needs Turkey's help in stemming the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe.
A deal between the two sides that went into effect last year has seen Ankara prevent human traffickers from using its coastline to transport migrants and refugees to the EU territory of nearby Greek islands.
In return, Turkey has insisted its citizens receive visa-free access to the bloc. But the EU says Ankara has not yet fulfilled all 72 criteria, including the narrowing of the definition of an act of terrorism, in order to be applicable for the easing of travel laws.
Dpa reported this week that campaigning abroad is technically not allowed under Turkish law.