Turkish FM: Wars of religion "may and will start in Europe"

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said regardless of who had won the Netherlands election, the views of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders were widespread in Europe and were pushing the continent towards "wars of religion."

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaking to businessmen and industrialists in Antalya, Turkey, March 16, 2017.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders' views were shared by all rival parties and were pushing Europe towards "wars of religion," irrespective of his loss in the Netherlands election.

Cavusoglu was commenting on the Netherlands election result in which centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte fought off a challenge from anti-EU and anti-Islam rival Wilders.

Turkey's reaction was at odds with that of many leaders in Europe who welcomed Rutte's win as a victory against right-wing populism and nationalism.

"Many parties have received a similar share of votes. 17 percent, 20 percent, there are lots of parties like this, but they are all the same," Cavusoglu said.

"There is no difference between the mindsets of Geert Wilders and social democrats in the Netherlands. They all have the same mindset ... That mindset is taking Europe to the cliff. Soon wars of religion may and will start in Europe."

Turkey on Monday suspended high-level relations with the Netherlands after it cited public safety in banning ministers from addressing expatriate Turks in a campaign for an April 16 referendum in Turkey that would increase presidential powers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week accused the Dutch government of acting like "Nazi remnants."

Ankara has been locked in a deepening row with the Netherlands after Turkish ministers were barred from campaigning among Turkish expatriates to garner support for the referendum.

TRTWorld and agencies