Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has ruled out any apology for banning Turkish ministers from joining pro-Ankara rallies here, while adding that he hoped a diplomatic row could be defused.
“There’s absolutely no way excuses can be made; they should make excuses for what they did yesterday,” Rutte told reporters on March 12 as he campaigned ahead of a March 15 general election in the Netherlands.
The Dutch have been particularly angered after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likened them to Nazis for refusing to allow his ministers to attend a pro-government meeting in Rotterdam to drum up support for constitutional amendments that will go to a public vote on April 16.
“This country, as the mayor of Rotterdam pointed out yesterday, was bombed during World War II by the Nazis. It’s totally unacceptable to talk in this way,” Rutte said in The Hague.
He urged Dutch citizens to “keep your cool. We have a fantastic society… and most Dutch people with a Turkish background are well-integrated.”
Tensions remained high, with Erdoğan warning on March 12 that the Netherlands would “pay a price” for its actions.