In a new verbal attack against the Dutch amid their growing diplomatic spat, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held the Netherlands responsible for Europe’s worst mass killing since World War II.
Erdogan was referring to a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, in 1995.
In a speech televised live on Tuesday Erdogan said: “We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre. We know how rotten their character is from their massacre of 8,000 Bosnians there.”
Ankara earlier rejected the EU’s call for de-escalating a diplomatic row over Turkish political campaigning abroad, saying the words out of Brussels have “no value for us.”
The European Commission urged Turkey to “calm down the situation” after the dispute hit a new low with a Dutch decision to bar a rally at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam over the weekend.
The Turkish government hit back, calling the EU’s position “incorrect” and “short-sighted.”
The EU’s statement “fuels extremism, such as xenophobia and anti-Turkish sentiments, because the call to refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation is made only to Turkey,” the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
After the cancellation of rallies in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, Erdogan has repeatedly lashed out at EU leaders.
He called the Dutch government “Nazi remnants,” accused Germany of supporting “Nazi practices” and said German Chancellor Angela Merkel supports terrorists.