Erdoğan is looking to the large number of Turks living in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, to help secure victory next month in a referendum that would give the presidency sweeping new powers.
Erdoğan has cited domestic threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants and a July coup bid as cause to vote “yes” to his new powers. But he has also drawn on the emotionally charged row with Europe to portray Turkey as betrayed by allies while facing wars on its southern borders.
“I call on all international organisations in Europe and elsewhere to impose sanctions on the Netherlands,” Erdoğan said yesterday (12 March), after his prime minister earlier said Turkey would retaliate in the “harshest ways”, without specifying how.
“Has Europe said anything? No. Why? Because they don’t bite each other. The Netherlands are acting like a banana republic,” Erdoğan said in a speech in Kocaeli province, near Istanbul.