Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued a row between European governments and Turkey, saying Europeans will not be able to safely walk on the streets if they persist in their attitude against Turkey.
Speaking during a meeting of the Anatolian Publishers Association in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdoğan said, “Turkey is not a country you can push around, not a country whose citizens you can drag on the ground.”
He was referring to Dutch police who forcefully dispersed Turkish demonstrators in Rotterdam on March 11 following the expulsion from the country of Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya after she was prevented from holding a campaign rally at the Turkish Consulate General residence in Rotterdam.
“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can safely walk on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy,” he said.
Turkey’s relations with various European countries have recently become strained due to the cancellation of rallies planned to be attended by Turkish ministers in order to seek the support of Turkish expatriates for a referendum in Turkey on April 16 that will expand Erdoğan’s powers and change Turkey into an executive presidency.