Rotterdam mayor appeals for calm in Turkey row

2017-03-21 19:25
(Emrah Gurel, AP)

(Emrah Gurel, AP)

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The Hague - Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb appealed for calm on Tuesday among the Dutch city's sizeable Turkish community, amid an international row over a referendum aimed at expanding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

The mayor's call comes after an unauthorised pro-Turkey demonstration in the port city flared into violence 10 days ago when riot police used dogs, horses and a water cannon to break up protesters.

"The situation remains very tense. Keep a cool head," Aboutaleb told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper in an interview.

"The word is that Turkish officials are calling on European Turks to make their voices heard.

"Of course, we will never dispute or deny Rotterdam Turks' involvement and loyalty to Turkey. However, what we don't want is that the call disrupts the local community," Aboutaleb said.

Both Germany and The Netherlands have blocked Turkish ministers from staging rallies to woo expatriate Turks to vote "yes" in the April 16 referendum.

The row deepened on the weekend of March 11 when the Dutch banned one Turkish minister's plane from landing and then expelled another envoy who had travelled by road to Rotterdam over the border from Germany.

Tensions have been running high among the city's sizable Turkish community since the abortive coup against Erdogan in July, with complaints of intimidation against both pro- and anti-Erdogan supporters.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  the netherlands  |  turkey

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