Turkey suspends top-level ties with Netherlands amid escalating crisis

Turkey suspends top-level ties with Netherlands amid escalating crisis

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey on Monday, March 13 said it was suspending top-level ties with The Netherlands and blocking the return of its ambassador in a spiralling crisis over the holding of rallies abroad ahead of a crucial referendum, AFP reports.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of "supporting terrorists," as acrimony flared between Turkey and EU states -- a standoff that risks affecting Ankara's entire relationship with Europe.

Both Germany and The Netherlands have blocked Turkish ministers from staging rallies to court the vote of expatriate Turks in the April 16 referendum on giving Erdogan greater powers.

Ankara was especially angered by the acts of The Netherlands days ahead of general elections in the country. The authorities prevented the foreign minister's plane from landing and expelled the family minister over the weekend.

"Until the Netherlands compensates for what it has done, high-level relations and planned meetings at a ministerial and higher level have been suspended," said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

Turkey will not allow the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return until The Netherlands meets Turkey's conditions over holding rallies, he added. Diplomatic flights would also be suspended.

Ambassador Kees Cornelis van Rij is currently outside of the country, and business is being handled by Dutch charge d'affaires.

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