President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's cynical interventions are not welcome in European politics15 March 2017 | 15:22 | The Telegraph
This could trigger another election campaign that is unnecessary for the Netherlands. The current campaign has caused deep divisions in a bastion of European liberalism, as arguments rage over the impact of immigration. The last thing the country needed was for these tensions to be exacerbated by the intrusion of Turkish politics.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to tap into support among 400,000 Turks living in the Netherlands to improve his chances in a forthcoming referendum. But ministers’ campaign efforts have caused resentment in the Netherlands. The Turkish foreign minister has been denied entry and another expelled, triggering a diplomatic row. President Erdoğan even likened the Dutch to Nazis, an insult calculated to deepen the rift.
The Dutch reaction has played into Mr Erdoğan’s hands. He has been criticised for shutting down media critical of his government and arresting or dismissing opponents after last year’s failed coup. Now he can cite the denial of free expression in Europe to bolster his repressive policies at home.
The other winner is Mr Wilders. The protests and clashes between the police and Turkish demonstrators will feed into his arguments against immigration. It is distasteful to witness these two populists cynically using the other for their own ends. Mr Erdoğan should stay out of European politics.
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