Erdogan hits new low with Srebrenica comment
New graves for victims of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 in 2010.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has accused the Dutch of responsibility for the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica as his spat with the Netherlands continues.
Dutch voters today are voting in an election seen as a test of populism in Europe, while Erdogan stoked the row over Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s decision last week to block Turkish ministers from attending a rally in Rotterdam.
“We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre. We know how rotten their character is from their massacre of 8,000 Bosnians there,” Erdogan told health-care workers, in a profound misreading of history.
The Srebrenica massacre was the worst slaughter in Europe since 1945. Bosnian-Serb forces rounded up thousands of Muslim men and boys and killed them, while a Dutch battalion of UN peacekeepers failed to prevent the executions. There is no suggestion that the Dutch troops conducted any killings.
Rutte dismissed the comments as a “disgusting distortion of history”. “We will not lower ourselves to this level. It is totally unacceptable,” he said.
Erdogan also referred to the Netherlands and Germany as “bandit countries”.
Rutte’s main opponent is the anti-Islamic Geert Wilders, who has pledged to take the Netherlands out of the EU, close all mosques and ban the Koran.
His Freedom Party (PVV) has been slipping in recent polls and now trails Rutte’s centre-right party.
“Whatever the outcome of the elections today, the genie will not go back into the bottle and this patriotic revolution, whether today or tomorrow, will take place,” Wilders said after casting his vote.
As parliamentary seats are allocated in exact proportion to a party’s vote share and no major party wants to form a government with the PVV, Wilders has little chance of power.
Prolonged coalition talks are expected.
Rutte has dismissed Wilders’s plan to close borders and mosques and outlaw the Koran as “fake solutions”.
Wilders said the government was providing better health care for immigrants than for the indigenous population.
Lodewijk Asscher of the Labour Party, the junior party in Rutte’s coalition, dismissed Wilders as providing “10,000 angry tweets and no solutions”.
Several of the smaller party leaders are being seen as potential kingmakers.
Seven of 28 parties taking part could win more than 10 seats in the 150-seat parliament, according to polling. Polls proved unreliable in the UK referendum and US election last year.
Christian Democrat Sybrand Buma, liberal Alexander Pechtold, Green-Left under Jesse Klaver and the Socialists might go join a coalition with front-runner Rutte.
Picture credit: Wikimedia