Turkey’s Foreign Minister has said Europe is being ‘dragged into the abyss’, warning that religious conflict will soon erupt on the continent’s soil.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said it didn’t matter who had won the Dutch elections, stating that “there is no difference” between Geert Wilders’ anti-Islamisation Party for Freedom (PVV) and other political parties in the European Union (EU) nation.
“All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? Religious conflict will soon begin in Europe,” said the minister, according to Hürriyet Daily News.
Although the Turkish news agency translated Mr. Çavuşoğlu as having predicted a “holy war” in Europe, the minister actually used the phrase “din savaşları” as opposed to “kutsal savaş” or even “jihad”. In doing so he emphasised the religious conflict he predicted and Muslims’ observance of their faith.
Referring to the Great War, the minister continued: “They killed each other 100 years ago because they were of different faiths.
“But they learned a lesson from this and then set up the European Union and the Council of Europe.”
The minister’s remarks, made at a rally in the southern city of Antalya, were Turkey’s first comment on the Netherlands since the country’s general election took place.
The diplomatic row waged between the two countries intensified after a rally due to be held by Mr. Çavuşoğlu in Rotterdam was cancelled on Saturday.
Dutch authorities barred the minister from entering the country when he vowed to visit regardless, and Turkish officials closed off the Dutch Embassy and said its ambassador was no longer welcome.
The election this week saw the migrant-centric party Denk (Think) secure its first electoral success in the Netherlands. The Turkish-led party, labelled by commentators as an “affiliate” of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP, is set to take three seats in the new parliament.
Denk, whose founders deny the Armenian genocide, has proposed creating a 1,000-man strong “Racism Police”, as they believe that too few people are being prosecuted for racism and discrimination.
If in government, the party would also introduce a “racism register” which would catalogue Dutch people deemed disrespectful to migrants, and “convicted racists” would be barred from government and public sector jobs.