The Latest: French candidate Macron condemns Turkey

The Latest: French candidate Macron condemns Turkey

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 12, 2017 at 1:10 p.m.

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on the diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron "strongly condemns" what he calls provocations from the Turkish government.

Macron has called on France to support its European partners and "reject the Turkish government's abuses." He says that "the European Union must have a united response."

He criticizes "unacceptable comments" by the Turkish authorities that target "European values," and Germany and the Netherlands.

Polls suggest Macron is the front-runner in the country's April-May presidential election.

French authorities allowed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to hold a rally in the eastern city of Metz.


5:50 p.m.

Denmark's prime minister says that's he's asked Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim to postpone a planned visit because of "tensions" between Ankara and the Netherlands.

Danish public broadcaster DR says that Yildirim plans to pay a visit the country on March 20 but Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen announced in a separate statement that such a visit couldn't take place in light of "the current Turkish attack on Holland."

"Under normal circumstances, it would be a pleasure to welcome the Turkish prime minister," Rasmussen said, adding to DR that the Danish government was "very concerned" about political developments in Turkey.

It wasn't immediately clear which date Yildirim's visit would be rescheduled to.


5:25 p.m.

French conservative candidate Francois Fillon says France should have banned Turkey's foreign minister from holding a rally in the country.

Fillon, who is running for presidency in the April-May election, wrote in a statement that two of France's closest allies, Germany and The Netherlands, "have been publicly insulted in unspeakable way by Turkish leaders."

He accuses Socialist President Francois Hollande of breaking with European solidarity: "it's obvious a common position should have prevailed to handle the Turkish demands."

Fillon says the controversy shows Turkey is moving away from European values a little more every day.

French authorities have said the rally of Turkey's top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu in the eastern city of Metz has been authorized in the name of the freedom of assembly and as long as it represents no threat to public order.


4:50 p.m.

The leader of Turkey's nationalist party has called on the government to suspend diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.

Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party which is allied with the ruling party for the referendum, has accused the Netherlands of becoming a "hostile country."

Bahceli said: "By adopting a disgraceful position, the Netherlands has become a hostile country. Diplomatic ties must be suspended."


4:40 p.m.

Turkey's foreign minister is calling for the defense of European values after holding a campaign rally in the eastern French city of Metz amid a diplomatic spat with the Netherlands.

Mevlut Cavusoglu has told The Associated Press that "we need to defend and promote European values, the common values, more than ever, because of the situation now. That is my message (to Europe)."

No incidents have been reported during the gathering in Metz, which has drawn several hundred people.

France's authorities have authorized the rally as long as it represents no threat to public order.

Cavusoglu was in France Sunday to whip up support for controversial constitutional reforms to expand the powers of the Turkish presidency, one day after being blocked from holding a rally in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

The decision has prompted tensions between Turkey and The Netherlands.


4:20 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on international organizations to "raise their voices" against the Netherlands after it escorted a minister out of the country and prevented another one from landing in the country.

In a campaign rally Sunday before a referendum on expanding the powers' of his office, Erdogan also called on international organizations to impose sanctions on the Netherlands.

Erdogan reiterated that the Netherlands would be "made to pay" for its treatment of its ministers, adding there would be no reconciliation with the NATO ally until then. He didn't elaborate.


4 p.m.

Turkey's foreign minister has slammed Dutch authorities a day after he was banned from speaking in the Netherlands.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told hundreds of supporters in the French city of Metz that the Dutch would be asked to "account" for their decision regardless of an apology. He called the Netherlands the "capital of fascism."

Cavusoglu was in Metz campaigning for a set of constitutional reforms that would increase the powers of the Turkish presidency.

The reforms need to be approved by the public in an April 16 vote. Asked if they supported the change, the crowd chanted "yes" with enthusiasm.

Women, men, children draped in Turkish flags broke out into sporadic chants in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


3:35 p.m.

France's foreign minister has called for the calming of tensions between some European countries and Turkey.

Jean-Marc Ayrault says that "in such circumstances, it is indispensable to act with a sense of responsibility and avoid unnecessary controversies."

Ayrault called on Turkish authorities to "avoid excesses and provocations."

He justified France's decision to allow Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to hold a rally in the eastern city of Metz, saying there wasn't a threat to public order and no possibility of interference with French politics.

Dutch authorities refused to allow Cavusoglu to land in Rotterdam on Saturday to attend a rally before a Turkish referendum on constitutional reforms to expand presidential powers.

Turkish ministers' plans for campaign rallies have also caused friction with Germany earlier this month.


1:20 p.m.

Turkey's top diplomat has drawn more than a hundred people at a campaign gathering in the northern French city of Metz amid a diplomatic spat with the Netherlands.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in France Sunday to whip up support for controversial constitutional reforms to expand the powers of the Turkish presidency.

Supporters draped in Turkish flags greeted the minister as he reached the Centre des Congres of Metz with cheers of "Turkey" and "God is Great."

Turkish officials have been scheduling campaign events for the referendum in several European countries with sizable populations of Turkish expatriates.

Cavusoglu was blocked Saturday from holding a rally in the Dutch city of Rotterdam after the Netherlands withdrew his landing permission.

The diplomatic incident has triggered an exchange of sharp words and tit-for-tat moves between the two NATO allies.


1:00 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he appropriately accused the Dutch government of "Nazism and fascism," saying only those types of regimes would bar foreign ministers from traveling within their countries.

Erdogan also said during a live televised address on Sunday that the Netherlands would "pay the price" for sacrificing its ties with a NATO ally to upcoming elections there.

He also said Turkey would retaliate for the ousting of the Turkish family affairs minister from the Netherlands.

Erdogan said: "I have said that I had thought that Nazism was over, but that I was wrong. Nazism is alive in the West."

He thanked France, which allowed Turkey's foreign minister to address Turkish citizens in the city of Metz on Sunday.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he was forced by threats from Ankara to keep two Turkish ministers from traveling within the Netherlands on Saturday.


12:45 p.m.

Turkey's foreign minister warns there "will be repercussions" against the Netherlands and that an "apology was not enough" as tensions continue escalating between the two NATO allies.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu talked with reporters Sunday in Metz, France where he condemned Dutch authorities canceling campaign rallies by himself and another cabinet member.

Noting that Ankara already had barred the Dutch ambassador from returning to Turkey, Cavusoglu added: "We have other steps in mind. We've already begun planning them. We will certainly take those steps and more."

Cavusoglu says Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had "arrogantly" said he could only come to the Netherlands to deliver tulips and tour museums, but not to see Turks living in the country.

The minister also condemned that treatment of Turkish protesters in Rotterdam, saying he would show photographs of dogs being released on them.


12:15 p.m.

A French official says the Turkish foreign minister is being allowed to address a rally in the country's eastern city of Metz because the event represents no threat to public order.

Alain Carton, secretary general of the Metz prefecture, said Sunday that in the absence of such a risk, the rally must be permitted in the name of the freedom of assembly.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu appeared at a midday rally with the local Turkish population that also was expected to draw Turkish expatriates from a nearby region of Germany.

The decision by French authorities to permit Cavusoglu to campaign in the country for a Turkish referendum that would expand the powers of the president contrasts with the position of the Dutch.

The Dutch government refused Saturday to allow Cavusoglu to land in Rotterdam because of objections to his intention to rally for the Turkish referendum.


11:15 a.m.

A man has climbed onto the roof of the Dutch consulate in Istanbul and replaced the Netherlands' flag with the Turkish one.

Television footage shows a man standing on the roof of the building shouting Allahu akbar, Arabic for "God is great."

A small group of men holding Turkish flags are seen outside the consulate shouting "Damn Holland" and "Racist Holland."

The incident occurred Sunday morning amid escalating tensions between the two NATO allies after the Netherlands barred two Turkish ministers for campaigning for an upcoming referendum on Saturday.

Private Dogan news agency reports the consulate later took down Turkey's flag and put the Dutch flag back up.

The man is still unidentified.


10:35 a.m.

Police in Rotterdam say they arrested 12 protesters as a demonstration outside the Turkish consulate devolved into rioting.

Police spokeswoman Patricia Wessels said the arrests were made for violence and public order offenses as Dutch-Turkish protesters pelted police with bottles and rocks early Sunday.

Police responded with batons and a water cannon.

Wessels says seven people were injured in the brief explosion of violence, including a police officer who suffered a broken hand.

The confrontation came at the end of a long standoff in which Dutch authorities refused to allow Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya into her country's consulate in downtown Rotterdam.

A small number of protesters reacted angrily when they heard that Dutch police were driving the minister to the German border.


10:20 a.m.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he was forced to keep two Turkish ministers from traveling within the Netherlands and to bar them from campaigning among Turkish voters because Ankara had threatened sanctions against his government.

Rutte said Sunday, "We can never do business under this kind of blackmail."

The prime minister says he was shocked to see one of the ministers try to get to a Rotterdam rally by car after the government had made clear she was not welcome.

Turkey's minister of family affairs was escorted back to the German border after a long standoff outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

Earlier, the Dutch government had withdrawn the landing rights of the plane carrying Turkey's foreign minister.

The ministers planned to urge Turkish expatriates to back the referendum, which would expand the president's powers.

Rutte says: "We drew a red line."

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