Under President Recep Tayyip Erdgoan, Turkey has become a state sponsor of terrorism, an illegal invader and occupier of Syria and Iraq, a neo-Imperial power which threatens the Arab world, Hellenic world and Slavic Balkans.
Erdogan’s Turkey is a police state, an authoritarian state, a state where journalists are killed and secular Kelamist opposition parties are increasingly marginalised. Judges, generals and other constitutionalists are continuously jailed.
But for all his countless faults, Erdogan is the President of Turkey and unless one declares war on Turkey, one must accept that the only people who can remove him from power are the Turks themselves.
In late 2015, when Turkey shot down a Russian jet that Russia claims was legally in allied Syrian air-space, Russia could have gone to war with Turkey. Russia and Turkey have indeed fought many wars. But President Putin chose to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
Syria too has every right to declare war on Turkey in retaliation for illegally occupying parts of Syria. But President Assad has his hands full and in any case, his goal is to get Turkey to leave Syria, not to invade Turkey.
It seems though that The Netherlands, a country which agitated for and participated in the NATO war crimes against Serbian people in Balkans during the 1990s, now thinks it is on a divine mission to oppose Erdogan.
Their weapon of choice has been to violate the most fundamental laws of diplomacy which even in war time are often not violated.
The Dutch authorities have taken Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policies and joint Deputy Prime Minister Dr.Betül Sayan Kaya and thrown her out of the country like a criminal or pirate. Virtually simultaneous to this, Holland has refused a plane carrying the Turkish foreign minister, to land in Rotterdam.
It is an absolute disgrace to treat a foreign Minister of State preparing to execute diplomatic work in this manner. The laws of diplomacy dictate that, the host country of an Embassy or Consulate cannot pick and choose who can and cannot arrive in order to engage in diplomatic work.
The Dutch authorities claim that the move was ordered because the ministers planned to lead a political rally in support of Erdogan’s power-grab referendum, amongst Turkish citizens living in Holland.
However one might oppose Erdogan’s attempt to become Sultan in all but name, countries with large immigrant populations, often have political rallies in support of foreign political parties as well as commemorations of events whose origin is not local.
I have personally marched peacefully with thousands of others on the 9th of May in order to honour those who fought and died in The Great Patriotic War. Many of these marches have taken place outside of Russia. Imagine the host nation arresting, beating, teargassing or executing people like me for engaging in this peaceful activity?
There is no indication that the Turkish rallies planned for Holland would not be peaceful political rallies. If the Dutch authorities were overly worried that the rallies would not be peaceful, they could simply refuse to sanction the event.
Removing a foreign Minister of State and refusing to allow another to enter the country, does not only violate basic decency and the most fundamental rules of diplomacy, it is downright petty, childish, dogmatic and extreme.
If the planned rally was that much of a problem for the Dutch authorities, they could have had more meaningful consultations with Turkey in order to reach some sort of accord. If this wasn’t possible, the UN would have been the only proper forum to settle such a dispute.
As it turns out, Holland’s diplomatic inanity has meant that the rally has not only taken place but that it became bigger and more heated than it reasonably could have been expected to be, had the ministers been allowed to carry out their normal duties. It has also meant that Erdogan, whose victory in the 16 April referendum would have been won by hook or by crook anyway, is now assured. He will use this to whip up feelings of Turkish animosity in Europe, a method he has used time and again to increase his power base.
What’s more is that because of seeing large numbers of people shouting in a foreign language in Dutch streets, Geert Wilders may pick up even more votes than expected in this week’s Dutch Parliamentary elections, something which won’t sit well with the government which decided to provoke Turkey unjustifiably.
Holland has shamed itself by resorting to such measures. It is unfathomable that a responsible country like Russia would ever stoop so low.
Russia speaks with every country in the world. Indeed, last week two of the world’s most controversial leaders, Benjamin Netanyahu and Erdogan himself were in Moscow. Moscow speaks with Saudi Arabia and Syria, India and Pakistan, both Korean states and even spoke to the openly hostile Barack Obama as well as the intractable fascist rulers of Ukraine. Russia has a respect for other states, even when disagreements define the course of the relationship.
In showing crassness, a lack of respect for another country’s statehood and bringing ideological melodrama into the usually dignified business of international diplomacy, Holland is behaving worse than many so-called banana republics.
UPDATE: Erdogan has said that The Netherlands will ‘pay the price’ for the ‘shameless’ treatment of Turkish ministers.