World Bulletin / News Desk
The leader of Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Monday urged voters of Turkish origin in the Netherlands to head to the polls for a big turnout on Wednesday’s general elections there.
On Twitter, Devlet Bahceli said that the Dutch elections would be a historical opportunity for democratization.
"I hereby call on people of Turkish origin and Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands: Don’t forget those [politicians and political parties] who inflamed Turkish-Dutch relations."
He urged people not to “make concessions to parties which insult the Turkish nation, who abuse and assault our values with barbarity and vulgar displays of power."
Ahead of the polls, far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders had said people with dual citizenship should not have the right to vote.
Bahceli's remarks also came after the Dutch government blocked both Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from holding rallies there Saturday.
When Turkish citizens in the Rotterdam peacefully protested these developments, they were met by police using batons, dogs and water cannons, in what some analysts called a disproportionate use of force.
Earlier on Monday, Ankara sent diplomatic notes to the Netherlands protesting these incidents.
- ‘Example for Europe’
Bahceli also slammed some European countries for backing the No side in Turkey’s upcoming constitutional referendum. "Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Norway, Sweden and slyly the United Kingdom are scared of Turkey changing its system of its own will."
Bahceli said that the referendum in Turkey would be an example of real democracy for countries in Europe still under constitutional monarchy.
He stressed: "I believe that the [constitutional] system changing in Turkey will serve to encourage democratization in Europe."
Constitutional reform and the change to a presidential system has been on the political agenda since Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former prime minister and Justice and Development (AK) Party leader, was elected president in August 2014.
On Jan. 20, Turkish lawmakers from the ruling AK Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in favor of a new constitutional reform package.
Aside from the change to an executive presidency, other reforms include allowing the president to maintain party political affiliation.
There would also be changes to Turkey’s highest judicial body, which would be renamed while retaining its independence and own budget.