Turkey have issued orders to various European countries, including the Netherlands, that it should report any “derogatory” or “defamatory” remarks made about its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a move that many European leaders have condemned as entirely fascist.
According to an email sent out byAnkara’s consulate in Rotterdam, anyone caught insulting Erdogan should be reported immediately to Turkey so that they can be “dealt with” by the Turkish regime.
This email, uncovered by Dutch news organizations Thursday, has sparked anger in the Netherlands, with the Dutch prime minister demanding an explanation from Turkish authorities. To Turkey’s critics, the message seems to show that Erdogan, long accused of cracking down on dissent domestically, was now abusing antiquated European laws in a bid to silence his international critics.
“I am surprised,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters in Germany during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It’s not clear what the Turkish government aims to achieve with this action.”
The news of the email comes less than a week after Merkel herself announced that she would allow Jan Boehmermann, a German comedian and writer known for his acerbic style, to be prosecuted for a poem he had read on television about Erdogan. Boehmermann’s poem was designed to crudely mock the Turkish president, accusing him of sex with goats and saying that Erdogan loved to “repress minorities, kick Kurds and beat Christians while watching child porn.”