Still struggling to get their campaigning for an upcoming referendum on increased presidential power going in earnest in Western Europe, Turkey is reacting with increasing fury every time one of the nations slotted for such a rally gets in their way, and today that saw them severing diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.
This marks the biggest, and largely the only, diplomatic row is four centuries of Turkey-Netherlands relationships, as Turkey’s hostility toward Spain during the Netherlands’ successful Eighty Years’ War of independence got them off on a naturally good start, and one that’s only now being seriously tested.
While for the Erdogan government this is about calling Western European nations “Nazi remnants,” something he was doing last week in Germany and has just continued on with in the Netherlands, the bigger near-term issue is that the Netherlands’ general election is just two days away.
Polls have already shown the ruling coalition expecting to lose a fairly comfortable 79-seat majority in a 150-seat parliament, dropping to 33-37 seats in recent polls. Those polls have shown the nationalist right and the far left both gaining ground, but the recent Turkey row is said to be generally favoring the nationalist parties, particularly the openly anti-Muslim Freedom Party, with a last minute boost that could give them a plurality.
Turkey’s constitutional referendum is next month, and polls hadn’t been going favorably for the Erdogan government, which has led to the government pressuring people to stop polling altogether, and has led Erdogan to try to campaign for votes among the 5 million Turkish residents of Europe, hoping they’ll be more supportive of his bid than the locals are.