The Netherlands has withdrawn permission for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu to fly to Rotterdam on Saturday after he was barred from addressing a Turkish rally there, CNN Turk and NTV television stations said on Sunday.
Rotterdam city authorities had banned Cavusoglu from addressing a meeting there in support of President Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign for extended powers to be put to a referendum in April. He had said he would fly to Rotterdam anyway.
CNN Turk said he was denied a flight permit. NTV said he was denied a landing permit.
On Friday, Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told reporters that Cavusoglu was welcome, but that all public rallies and speeches had been cancelled.
“He has diplomatic immunity and everything so we will treat him with respect, but we have other instruments to prohibit things happening in public spaces,” Aboutaleb said.
Cavusoglu’s delegation announced on Facebook that the gathering would instead be held at the private residence of the Turkish consul in Rotterdam. The invitation to the gathering asked visitors not to use their car horns or wave Turkish flags.
With the ban on campaign rallies, Rotterdam joined a growing list of European cities that block such gatherings for fear of unrest.
This week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of “Nazi practices” after Turkish leaders had been prevented from rallying expats in several Germany cities in support of the referendum.
Many in Europe worry that Erdogan is capitalising on post-coup fears to push through a more authoritarian system with few checks on his power.