Dutch bar plane carrying Turkish foreign minister from landing

The Turkish government has sought to hold campaign rallies in European countries to appeal for Turkish diaspora votes to help secure victory in a referendum next month that would grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping executive powers.

The planned rallies by the Turkish ministers in countries with native population come ahead of the April 16 referendum in Turkey that would expand the powers of the President.

He had previously warned the country of "harshest" retaliation after the Netherlands blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies and compared the actions of the Dutch government to that of "fascists" and "Nazi remnants".

In the Netherlands, meanwhile, voting takes place tomorrow after a bitter and divisive parliamentary election campaign in which mainstream politicians, led by the prime minister, Mark Rutte, have been consistently undermined by the unconcealed bigotry and Islamophobia of Geert Wilders, leader of the populist Party of Freedom.

In the latest twist in the row, Cavusoglu angered the Dutch by threatening "severe sanctions" if he were banned from traveling to the Rotterdam rally.

The Dutch ambassador who is home was asked not to return to Turkey "for a while", Anadolu reported.

"Hey Holland! If you are sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday, you will pay a price", an angry Mr Erdogan told a ceremony in Istanbul. "Wilders could benefit because this incident strengthens the image that Turks are not integrated and show more loyalty towards Turkey than to the Netherlands".

"Why are you taking sides in the referendum?" he said, adding: "Is the foreign minister of Turkey a terrorist?"

Saturday, the Turkish family affairs minister was prevented by Dutch police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

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"There will be a stronger reprisal against the unacceptable treatment toward Turkey and ministers who have diplomatic immunity", Mr Yildirim said.

He added, "If tension will increase (between the two countries) because of my visit, then let it increase".

As well, the plane carrying the Foreign Minister for Turkey, Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu, was denied landing rights at Rotterdam's airport by the Dutch authorities.

Erdogan's wing in the Turkish government, the Justice and Development Party, is campaigning internationally for the reforms in European cities and towns with large Turkish populations.

Apart from any economic measures, a source in Ankara said sanctions could also affect cultural activities as well as military and technological cooperation.

Mr. Wilders hit back, saying: "We have a fifth column in the Netherlands". Some local authorities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have earlier called off Turkish rallies.

Turkey summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires Daan Feddo Huising for the third day in a row Monday and presented him with two notes addressed to the Dutch government asking for a written apology and accusing the Hague of breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomacy.

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu is still looking for a new venue for an event on March 12 after one hotel near Zurich pulled out on security grounds and an alternative, in the city of Winterthur, was rejected as inappropriate.

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