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Turkey targets Dutch with diplomatic sanctions

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Turkey said on March 13 that it would suspend high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlands after Dutch authorities prevented its ministers from speaking at rallies of expatriate Turks, deepening the row between the two NATO allies, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

The sanctions – which include a ban on the Dutch ambassador and diplomatic flights from the Netherlands but do not appear to include economic measures or travel restrictions for ordinary citizens – mark another low point in relations between Turkey and the European Union, which it still officially aims to join.

“We are doing exactly what they did to us. We are not allowing planes carrying Dutch diplomats or envoys to land in Turkey or to use our airspace,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a news conference after a cabinet meeting. “Those creating this crisis are responsible for fixing it.”

Kurtulmuş also said Turkey’s deal to stop the flow of migrants into Europe may need to be re-evaluated. He said high-level government meetings would be suspended between the two countries until the Netherlands atoned for its actions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is seeking Turkish voters’ support in an April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments, has previously accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants” for barring his ministers from addressing expatriate Turks to drum up votes.

The row is likely to further dim Ankara’s prospects of EU membership. It also comes as Turkey wrestles with security concerns over militant attacks and the war in neighboring Syria.

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