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.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.