Thursday, April 21, 2016

Turkish consulate in the Netherlands urges Dutch Turks to report insults to Erdogan.

Turkish consulate in The Netherlands urges Dutch Turks to report insults to Erdogan. (DutchNews).

The Turkish consulate in Rotterdam has urged Turkish nationals to report examples of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan being insulted and denigrating comments made about Turks in general, Dutch media said on Thursday afternoon.

Various Turkish organisations in the Netherlands have been emailed by the consulate, urging them to make a note of the insults.

The call comes a day after the Dutch government said it would scrap legislation which makes insulting a friendly head of state a criminal offence.

The consulate is looking for social media posts which incite hatred or contain insulting comments as well as email and traditional letters, Dutch Turkish news site Zaman Vandaag says.

The consulate was not available for comment but a spokesman for the Turkish embassy in The Hague told RTL news that a hate campaign had been launched against Turkey since it emerged that a German comedian faces prosecution for insulting Erdogan. ‘We want to monitor the situation,’ the embassy said.

In some emails received by the embassy, Erdogan has been compared to Hitler, RTL says. In others, Turks are urged to leave the Netherlands as soon as possible. 

Parliament MPs have raised questions about what they are calling unwanted interference in Dutch affairs. Socialist MP Sadet Karabulut said the call was a sign of Erdogan’s ‘long arm of influence’ in the Netherlands.

Joram van Klaveren, from the right-wing VNL, said the consul should be called to The Hague to explain. ‘Turkey needs to be reminded of the right to freedom of speech, considering some 2,000 Turks are being prosecuted for insulting the president,’ he said.

In Germany, Turkey has been given the green light to take legal action against Jan Böhmermann, a comedian who read out an offensive poem about Erdogan on television.

Some 400,000 people of Turkish origin live in the Netherlands and the Dutch branch of the Turkish opposition party CHP says it calls taken from a number of people concerned.

they are afraid because they said something important in the past, for example in Facebook or Twitter,” a spokesman told Dutch Turkish Zaman Vandaag website .

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was surprised. "It's not obvious what the Turkish government is trying to achieve with this action," he said.

Integration Minister Lodewijk Asscher accused the Turkish embassy of interfering in freedom of speech in the Netherlands.

Initially the Turkish embassy declined to comment, saying merely that it had seen an increase in hate messages.

But after the story had prompted an outcry in the Netherlands, the embassy said there had been a misunderstanding.

It said a consulate employee had used an unfortunate choice of words in its message sent to Turkish groups in the Netherlands, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported. Apparently the consulate had only asked to hear about racist statements and hate campaigns.

The Turkish consulate's offending email:

"To the relevant person,
We ask urgently for the names and written comments of people who have given derogatory, disparaging, hateful and defamatory statements against the Turkish president, Turkey and Turkish society in general, which have reached the members and relatives of your non-governmental organisations or fellow citizens from your surroundings via their social media addresses (such as Twitter or Facebook) or via the official address and e-mail addresses of your non-governmental organisation, to be sent in before the close of business on 21 April 2016 by email to the consulate general in Rotterdam
Yours sincerely..."

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