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Turkey's president warned the Netherlands will 'pay the price' for ministers' treatment

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned  Sunday that the Dutch will "pay the price" for preventing two Turkish ministers from campaigning in the Netherlands over the weekend. 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was forced to prevent the two ministers campaigning with Turkish voters because Ankara threatened sanctions against his government.

Cabinet ministers have been campaigning in several European countries with large populations of Turkish expatriates to gain support for an April 16 referendum that could expand Erdogan' power. 

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was denied landing rights and was unable to address crowds at a  Rotterdam rally. Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Turkey's family minister, arrived by car but was escorted to the German border by police.

Turkey's president warned the Netherlands will 'pay the price' for ministers' treatment

Police said at least 12 people were arrested for rioting outside the consulate after Kaya was escorted to the German border. 

"I said 'I thought Nazism was over,' but I was wrong. In fact, Nazism is alive in the West," Erdogan said at the International Goodness Awards ceremony in Istanbul.

"What we saw in the last couple of days in Germany and Netherlands are the reflections of Islamophobia."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte responded saying it is important for his government not to bow to Turkey's threat of sanctions.

 "Turkey is a proud nation; the Netherlands is a proud nation. We can never do business under those sorts of threats and blackmail," Rutte said. 

Turkey's relations with several European Union countries have become strained because of the rallies aimed at bolstering support among expatriate voters. 

Erdogan angered German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month when he made similar remarks about Nazism in Germany. Merkel condemned his comments, calling them "unjustifiable." 


Sunday Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen postponed a meeting with Turkey's prime minister, saying he's concerned "democratic principles are under great pressure" in Turkey, according to the BBC

French officials, however, have approved a Turkish rally in Metz. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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