The Latest: Erdogan says Europe drowning in fear of Muslims

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2017 10:28 AM
The Latest: Erdogan says Europe drowning in fear of Muslims

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Turkeys' diplomatic feud with Germany and the Netherlands (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out anew against the Netherlands and European nations, repeating an assertion that the Dutch were responsible for the slaughter of Bosnians in Srebrenica in 1995 and saying the EU was "drowning" in its fear of Muslims and refugees.

Erdogan on Wednesday also said he had given instructions for a "twinning" agreement between Istanbul and the Dutch city of Rotterdam be scrapped, saying "it is not possible to be twins under such conditions."

His statement came a day after the mayor of Rotterdam stated that specialized armed security forces he sent on Saturday to a standoff with a Turkish minister had permission to open fire if necessary. The minister was prevented from holding a campaign rally and later escorted out of the Netherlands.

Erdogan said of the Netherlands: "They have nothing to do with the civilized world; they have nothing to do with the modern world. They are the ones who massacred more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica."

"The EU is fast going toward drowning in its own fears," he said.

Around 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb troops in Srebrenica. Erdogan was referring to a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter.

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3:05 p.m.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency says Istanbul's municipality has canceled a protocol that had declared Istanbul and Rotterdam twin cities.

The announcement came soon after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised address that he had given instructions for the twinning agreement to be scrapped, saying it was impossible for the two cities to be "twins" following the weekend's standoff between Dutch police and a Turkish minister in Rotterdam.

Anadolu Agency said the city assembly voted unanimously to end the twinning protocol that was signed in 2005.

Meanwhile, the Turkish members of a Turkish-Dutch parliamentary friendship group resigned from the joint committee, legislator Mustafa Elitas said.

The government had said Monday that it would recommend that the Turkish legislators leave the grouping as part of a series of political sanctions imposed against the Netherlands.

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12:40 p.m.

Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre have voiced outrage over the use of their suffering in Turkey's feud with the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the Dutch for the Srebrenica massacre — the only episode of Bosnia's 1992-95 war to have been classed as genocide by two international courts — amid a diplomatic spat over campaigning for a Turkish referendum.

Hajra Catic, whose son and husband were among 8,000 Muslim men and boys massacred by Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995, said Wednesday it was "a sin" to trade political barbs "over the bones of our killed children."

"When our children were being killed neither Dutch nor Turkish soldiers were there to protect them," she told Bosnian media.

Catic's view was echoed by a number of prominent massacre survivors, including the former major of post-war Srebrenica Camil Durakovic and Sadik Ahmetovic, a member of Bosnian parliament.

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10:10 a.m.

European Union leaders are voicing solidarity with the Netherlands in its spat with Turkey and condemning Nazi jibes by Turkish officials.

Erdogan has labeled the Netherlands as "Nazi remnants" after it prevented two Turkish ministers from making campaign appearances in Rotterdam — a city that was bombed by Nazi Germany in World War II and now has a Moroccan-born mayor.

Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Council, on Wednesday told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France: "If anyone sees fascism in Rotterdam, they are completely detached from reality."

He said: "We all show solidarity with the Netherlands."

Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the EU's executive Commission, said: "I will never accept this comparison between the Nazis" and today's governments.

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8:30 a.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff warned Wednesday that the German government reserves the right to impose entry bans on Turkish officials hoping to campaign in Germany, though he said the measure would be a "last resort."

Peter Altmaier's comments followed days of escalating tensions between Turkey and two European Union nations, Germany and the Netherlands, over Turkish politicians' hopes to campaign there ahead of their country's constitutional referendum next month.

At the European Parliament, EU leaders voiced solidarity with the Netherlands and condemned Nazi parallels drawn by Turkish officials.