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Turkey turns against Dutch radicalism
Published on:Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 14:39
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Dutch media that he is opposed to radical politics. Without mentioning anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, Mr Erdogan said, "Radicalism brings misery over the people and the country."
The Turkish Prime Minister, who usually shuns foreign media, was interviewed by Holland's public broadcaster NOS and daily NRC Handelsblad on the eve of Sunday's general elections in Turkey. Campaigning on a national pride theme, Mr Erdogan's AK party is expected to come out as the winner for the third time in a row.
Geert Wilders' Freedom Party is opposed to Turkey's entry into the European Union. With 15 percent of the popular vote, the nationalist Freedom Party is a key supporter of the Netherlands' minority government. Brussels has been considering Ankara's membership application since 1987.
Explaining Turkey's position, Europe Minister Egemen Bagis later told the Dutch press that his government is dealing with the Netherlands' government, not with Geert Wilders' Freedom Party. "We're assuming that the Dutch population is not interested in the anti-Islam position of Mr Wilders," the Turkish minister said.
Geert Wilders reacted in characteristic fashion, not mincing his words: "Mr Erdogan is a dangerous Islamist of the worst kind. If he wins the elections, Turkey will definitively turn its back on Europe. As far as we're concerned they will never get into the EU anyway, but in any case normal relations will become complicated when he is involved. A dangerous man, himself an Islamic radical."
A member of the Dutch opposition Socialist Party, Sadet Karabulut, said on Twitter, "Turkish premier Erdogan may be concerned about a radicalisation in Dutch politics. I'm concerned about Mr Erdogan's radical politics."
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