Netherlands issues alert to its citizens in Turkey

A diplomatic row between the two countries broke out over the weekend

Netherlands issues alert to its citizens in Turkey

Protestors wave Turkish national flags as they shout slogans during a demonstration in front of the Dutch Consulate on March 12, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Picture by: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

The Netherlands has issued an alert to its citizens in Turkey after a diplomatic row broke out over the weekend between the two countries.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the Netherlands will 'pay the price' after two of its ministers were prevented from entering the country for a rally in Rotterdam.

The demonstrations were being held ahead of a Turkish referendum next month that aims to give President Erdoğan sweeping new powers.

Many Dutch nationals of Turkish origin have the right to vote in the referendum. International campaigning to date has also seen the cancellation of planned rallies in countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Over the weekend, Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was denied landing rights to the Netherlands, while family and social policy minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was escorted from Rotterdam to the German border.

The Dutch government had claimed that "public order and safety" were at risk during the planned demonstrations.

Turkish authorities threatened sanctions on the Netherlands over the issue, while Mr Erdoğan accused the Dutch - who were once under Nazi occupation - of being "the vestiges of Nazis".

Riots broke out in Rotterdam on Saturday night amid the diplomatic row.

In a statement over the controversy, the Dutch government said: "The quest for a reasonable compromise had proved to be impossible. The subsequent verbal aggression on the part of the Turkish authorities is unacceptable."

In a warning today, the Dutch foreign affairs ministry told its citizens to 'avoid gatherings and crowded places' in Turkey.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Turkey has summoned the Dutch envoy in Ankara over the tactics used by Dutch police against protesters on Saturday.

Police using water cannon, horses and dogs moved to disperse the crowds after several hours of demonstrations.

The Turkish referendum takes place on April 16th, and would significantly increase the powers of Mr Erdoğan.

According to BBC, a number of European countries have "expressed deep disquiet" over Turkey's "perceived slide towards authoritarianism under President Erdoğan".

The referendum comes less than a year after the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016.