The Dutch government has withdrawn landing permission for the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's aircraft, escalating a diplomatic dispute between the two NATO allies over campaigning for a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded by calling the Dutch "Nazi remnants" and "fascists."
In a statement, the Dutch government said Saturday it had withdrawn the permission because of "risks to public order and security" caused by the proposed visit of Minister Çavuşoğlu to Rotterdam.
Prior to revoking his permission to land, the Netherlands banned him from taking part in a political rally for local Turks. Çavuşoğlu said he would visit the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday despite the official ban on him addressing participants in the rally, who back granting new powers to Turkish President Erdoğan.
"You can stop our foreign minister's plane all you want, let's see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on," Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul," said Erdoğan at a rally in Istanbul after Çavuşoğlu was denied landing.
Çavuşoğlu said the Dutch government was effectively taking Turkish citizens hostage by banning the rally. It was the latest of a series of bans on campaigning in Europe, largely Germany, by Turkish leaders in preparation for an April referendum looking to increase Erdoğan's powers.
"These people are not your captives," he said in an interview with CNN Turk television.
Çavuşoğlu said if the Netherlands refused him permission to fly to Rotterdam, Turkey would respond with harsh economic and political sanctions.
But Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, announcing the ban on a public appearance late on Friday, said there was no question of him being excluded from the Netherlands.
Earlier this week, Çavuşoğlu reflected growing tensions between Turkey and European allies by saying that deals between Turkey and the European Union, including an agreement on stemming a flow of migrants, would be jeopardized if the bloc failed to implement promised visa liberalization for Turks.
One prominent EU member to be singled out and attacked by Turkey has been Germany. On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkey to stop invoking Berlin's Nazi past when criticizing cancellations of Turkish ministers' rallies in Germany, and said she would do everything possible to keep Turkish domestic conflicts from spilling onto German soil. Her rebuke was to no avail, and several hours after giving her warning, Çavuşoğlu once again made the comparison, saying on television, "We are not calling the government Nazi. Its practices recall that era."
Çavuşoğlu additionally said that Turkey would present a final text to the bloc on progress of the deal between and Turkey, "and either it will all be canceled, including the visa liberalization and migrant deal, or it will all be implemented."
Turkey and the EU last year agreed a deal to stem a record flow of migrants to Europe in exchange for billions of euros in aid to Turkey and the lifting of short-term visa requirements on Turkish citizens.