What’s happening this year, week 11.

This week, a slightly more focused review as a number of developments have emerged in Europe. With the Netherlands in focus, there are a few things which have been overlooked in the international press. However, to give a better impression of the Dutch elections, we’ll need to cover events regarding Turkey and some of its communities abroad first.

 

  • Across Europe, Turkey has been campaigning on behalf of its referendum to essentially turn its President Erdogan into a dictator by granting far more power and far less accountability. Following some¹ cancelations of these events in Germany, there have been bomb threats¹ and public concern. During the electoral period in the Netherlands, concerns had been raised as to why a foreign referendum campaign was taking place in the country while a national election campaign was still going. As a result, Turkish ministers were asked not to come or host their rallies (which were canceled¹) in the Netherlands, a request which was swiftly ignored as the Turkish foreign minister announced he could come regardless¹.

Ignoring the requests, the Turkish foreign minister attempted to land in Rotterdam, but his flight was refused landing permission¹. After this, another Turkish minister who was in Germany, decided to make an unannounced visit to Rotterdam by car, where (as she had no status in the Netherlands as a diplomat), she was stopped and deported to Germany as an undesirable alien¹. Following the deportation¹ and after repeatedly ignoring¹ the wishes of the host country¹, Turkey began declaring the Netherlands as Nazis¹ and fascists¹. Afterwards, riots ensued where photos of Turks ‘under attack¹‘ by police were spread all over Turkish media, and inconvenient¹ images of Turks attacking police¹ were left out.

Turkey again threatened Europe with refugees¹ as airport computers¹* in the Netherlands were hacked, certain Twitter accounts¹ were taken over and push pro-Erdogan messages and the flag of the Dutch consulate in Istanbul was replaced with the Turkish flag¹. Erdogan also threatened to “mobilize the Islamic world against Euro-fascism¹“[sic]. While calling the Dutch Nazis, the European Court of Human Rights has seen more than 5,000 cases of human rights violations¹ filed against Turkey since the purges began. Turkey itself going against anyone who so much as criticizes Erdogan¹, and has even attempted¹ to do so in other¹ countries¹. Turkey has also blamed Dutch peacekeepers for the 1995 mass murder which took place in Srebrenica¹, Bosnia while denying¹ and pushing back against those who hold Turkey responsible for (among others¹), the Armenian genocide¹.

            –It took almost a week for the EU to join in support¹ of the Netherlands in the diplomatic developments with Turkey. In that time, Premier Mark Rutte has responded in very public ways against Turkey, stating that Turkey’s comments are unacceptable¹ and he wouldn’t give in to blackmail¹. It appeared at times that Rutte had made his way further to the right¹ than usual in the lead up to the elections. Despite outward appearance though, news recently (and quietly) came to light regarding Rutte, Merkel and a refugee agreement¹ with Turkey that was agreed with previously without the consent or knowledge¹ of other EU leaders (and certainly not citizens) to accept 150-200,000 ‘refugees’ a year. On top of that, it’s up to Turkey to decide who is a refugee to Europe, and who it will keep as refugees¹.

This sort of news is not new to the VVD, who itself has seen the most integrity-related¹* scandals in the past few years than any other party¹* in Dutch politics. The premier himself has repeatedly broken electoral promises. From promising 1,000 Euro¹* to every tax payer in the last election, to stating there will be no more¹* financial aid to Greece, and though not a promise, simply dismissing the recent Ukrainian association agreement referendum¹*. This is the man and the party that the EU is currently cheering as a hero of the EU¹*. But the VVD is not the only questionable party being overlooked from these elections.

Pro-Turkish¹ party ‘DENK’ which managed 3 seats from predominantly high-immigrant voting areas has been accused of using intimidation¹* to gain votes from muslim communities¹*, the accusations themselves come not from the “right wing”, but from the association of mosques in Rotterdam (RMMN; Raad van Marokkaanse Moskeeën Nederland).The party has faced various accusations of questionable¹* practices, including claiming that doctors are more likely euthanize immigrant patients¹*. Concerns had also been raised regarding some voting locations, particularly a mosque which was full of Turkish flags where Turkish radio played and information for the Turkish state religious affairs institution was on full display¹*. In Rotterdam, where DENK support was highest, there have also been threats¹ made against ‘Gulen supporters’ after lists were made public in a Turkish pro-Erdogan¹ publication in the city. The ‘Gulen supporters’ are this time being blamed for the diplomatic issues¹ between the Netherlands and Turkey.

When Rutte stated that the Netherlands are ‘against the wrong sort of populism¹*’, it echoes growing sentiment that the limits of choice all point one way¹.

 

  • The EU is planning on opening ‘asylum processing¹‘ areas in Africa to ‘fight people smugglers’ and bring 6 million migrants¹* into the bloc where unemployment already hangs around 9-10%¹. Criminals are already profiting¹ from the large-scale influx of ‘refugees’ entering into Europe and the situation seems to only grow worse, as a surge in criminal activity¹ is attributed those who enter the EU in these ways and massive arsenals¹ are uncovered. At the same time, measures are being brought forth largely in response to ‘online hate speech¹‘ against migrants which involves massive fines¹. Oddly enough, despite speaking out against ‘refugees’ and ‘migrants’ being targeted as ‘hate speech’, antifa slogans such as “We love Volkstod¹*” (Volkstod being death of the [German] people/nation) are not ‘hate speech’.

 

  • Essen in Germany saw a shopping center closed¹ by police due to a credible an imminent¹ threat posed by a group of potential suicide bombers. ISIS¹ has been linked to the attempted attack which police did not refer to¹ as an attempted terrorist attack¹ in a time where terrorism played a large part in the electoral campaigns in the neighboring Netherlands. Two arrests¹ regarding the threat had been made in the nearby city of Oberhausen where interrogations and searches were underway. One of the suspects has since been released¹. In a potentially unrelated issue, the city of Essen had stopped¹* another Turkish political rally due to a lack of permits and potential over crowding. There have previously been bomb threats due to the cancelation of Turkish rallies, however none have been attributed to ISIS. The concerns come from recent threats statements from the Turkish foreign minister¹ who has stated that ‘wars of religion¹‘ will come to Europe, in part because ‘all Dutch ministers are fascists¹‘ except for those who support Turkey¹.

 

 

 

Finally this week, it seems the power of and determination of a small group can be felt with even the most wide-spread of ‘art projects¹‘.

 

 

This has been week 11.

 

 

 

*Alternate language source.

 

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