What first was a tense situation has now become a full-fledged diplomatic row between Turkey and the Netherlands — a row that serves both Erdoğan and Rutte in their respective campaigns.
The election campaign remains curiously devoid of truly game-changing, or even very important, occurrences. It seems people are tired and want it to end, even if that means returning the most divided parliament in Dutch history.
Still, there’s some small fry.
As I reported recently, Turkish foreign minister Çavuşoğlu wants to hold a pro-Erdoğan in Rotterdam next Saturday. The Dutch government, and in fact all Dutch political parties except for DENK, think that’s a bad idea.
Yesterday, the owner of the venue where Çavuşoğlu was to speak cancelled the rally. Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb confirmed this in a letter, and added that if that hadn’t happened he’d probably have cancelled the rally himself, mostly due to concerns over public order, and also because he fears increasing escalation.
A new development you should be aware of: Turkish foreign minister Çavuşoğlu is planning a meeting in Rotterdam on 11th of March. The ostensible purpose of this meeting is getting Turks living in Holland to vote in the upcoming referendum on making Erdoğan essentially president for life, but it has consequences for Dutch (and German) politics as well.