UK & Europe


Topics about the UK, EU and Europe.

This week President Erdogan of Turkey has accused both Germany and the Netherlands of acting like Nazis as relations between the countries sour.

About a week ago, Telegraph: Erdogan accuses Germany of behaving ‘like Nazis’ after Turks banned from political rallies

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany on Sunday of “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi times in a growing row over the cancellation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him among 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany.

German politicians reacted with shock and anger. German justice minister Heiko Maas told broadcaster ARD that Mr Erdogan’s comments were “absurd, disgraceful and outlandish” and designed to provoke a reaction from Berlin.

Now BBC: Turkey referendum: Dutch are Nazi remnants – Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the Dutch as “Nazi remnants and fascists”, as a diplomatic row grows over a cancelled rally.

The Turkish foreign minister was due to speak in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday in support of a referendum to give Mr Erdogan greater powers.

But the rally was banned for security reasons, and the minister’s plane was then refused permission to land.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the remark was “way out of line”.

“It’s a crazy remark, of course,” Mr Rutte said.

Turkey has summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara for an explanation.

In a strange twist, Turkey’s family minister will attempt to travel by land to the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya is in Germany for separate meetings but plans to head to the Netherlands later, despite having her meetings there cancelled.

President Erdogan reacted to the ban on his foreign minister by threatening to block Dutch flights.

He said: “Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on, let’s see how your flights will land in Turkey.”

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also warned Turkey would impose heavy sanctions if his visit were blocked.

Mr Rutte warned in a statement (in Dutch) that the Turkish threat of sanctions made “the search for a reasonable solution impossible”.

Erdogan may be trying to play tough to his domestic audience but his international relations don’t look flash.


  1. patupaiarehe

     /  March 12, 2017

    This isn’t related to politics, but is still relevant to this thread, IMHO…

    • patupaiarehe

       /  March 12, 2017

      Call me insensitive, but I fail to understand the attachment, that some feel toward ‘human remains’. I’ve seen more than a few dead people, in my short fat life, a couple of whom, I actually cared about. IMHO, what remains is just the ‘vessel’ for a soul, which has already departed. When I depart this ‘mortal coil’, I would like my body to be donated to a medical school, but unfortunately this isn’t possible, due to where I live.
      So I have decided on a ‘burial at sea’, in a steel casket that is welded shut. I enjoy the thought of being dragged up on some poor boaties anchor, in a few hundred years time, & him shitting himself about dragging up a vampire… 😀

      • Missy

         /  March 12, 2017

        I am a little bit with you, I have no requirement to go to a cemetery to remember those I have lost, but in a way I think the war graves are important, if they are of those that died in combat – or as a consequence of injuries received in combat. Partly to do with remembrance, but mostly because I think as time passes the best illustration of the sacrifices – and utter futility – of war is to visit the cemeteries, see the memorials with the names, but also to see the thousands of gravestones. When you visit one of the cemeteries and just see row upon row of gravestones, knowing each gravestone represents a person who was killed in war, it just leaves you with the sense of utter despondency, it is a good way to visualise, rather than just read loads of numbers. The gravestones make it more real I guess.

        I am not really sure what this is about, I haven’t seen anything so will need to look at some local news sources. I haven’t been to this cemetery so am not sure of the layout of this section of it. I do find it interesting that CWGC are involved in this, especially with how jealously they guard anything to do with war graves, and any encroachment on to it.

  2. Missy

     /  March 12, 2017

    I am just watching the England v Scotland game at the moment, and the crowd are in full force with Swing Low – they sound louder than usual, I wonder if that is to do with a media report earlier this week. Apparently an American academic is saying that the England Rugby Fans singing Swing Low is cultural appropriation of an American Slave Song and the English Fans have no right to sing it. This PC stuff is getting out of hand!!

    • A US academic has no right to dictate what English fans should or shouldn’t sing.

      But it does seem a weird song for the English to sing at their rugby matches, especially given that England was a major player in slave trading and using of slaves.

      • Missy

         /  March 12, 2017

        I don’t think many of them realised what the song’s origins are. There was an explanation how it started, I will try to find the article, but if I recall correctly it started when one of the players (Offiah I think) was asked what song he wanted played when he scored a try. He chose Swing Low in honour of his heritage, and the slave trade, and the fans picked it up and sang along with it, and it has continued. It was described as a perfect football song, catchy tune, easy lyrics, and rhythmic, but it is not expected that many of today’s fans – or players – know the history of the song.

      • My reading of it is he doesn’t say they have no right to sing it , he thinks it odd…

        He told the newspaper that the situation reminded him of American sports teams who use Native American names and imagery, “in that a group of people seemed to be free-associating with imagery largely disconnected from its history”.

        “My first reaction is absolute shock – and I actually understand it when I think about it – but that’s my first reaction,” Jones said. “I feel kind of sad. I feel like the story of American chattel slavery and this incredible cultural tradition, built up within a community of people who were victims and often seen as incapable of standing up for themselves, [makes for] such a powerful story that I want the whole world to know about it.”

    • NOEL

       /  March 12, 2017

      “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” may have been written by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory in what is now Choctaw County, near the County seat of Hugo, Oklahoma sometime after 1865. He may have been inspired[citation needed] by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah’s being taken to heaven by a chariot (2 Kings 2:11). Some sources claim that this song and “Steal Away” (also sung by Willis) had lyrics that referred to the Underground Railroad, the freedom movement that helped black people escape from Southern slavery to the North and Canada.

      Alexander Reid, a minister at the Old Spencer Academy, a Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis singing these two songs and transcribed the words and melodies. He sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jubilee Singers popularized the songs during a tour of the United States and Europe.”

  3. Missy

     /  March 12, 2017

    Further to what I posted this morning regarding the possibility of Brexit being triggered on Tuesday, it has emerged today that Ministers are having to cancel overseas travel. It seems that the Conservative whips think there may be more rebels than first thought, so no MPs are being denied leave from Parliament for the vote.

  4. Missy

     /  March 12, 2017

    Jeremy Corbyn today has said he will not try to stop a bill for a second Scottish Independence Referendum if it comes before the Commons, though he said Labour will campaign for the Union. This position undermines Scottish Labour whose position is against a second referendum. It seems disunity – or at least confusion – reigns still in Labour. This is just another example of Labour not being united on a message to do with UK constitutional matters.

  5. Missy

     /  March 12, 2017

    There has been an amusing story in the media last night and today here, it isn’t political or anything even slightly serious, but a little quirky, and has gone viral on social media.

    In London there is a tube station called Seven Sisters, yesterday a picture emerged (taken by a commuter) of what appears to be Seven Sisters (nuns) at the station – in fact right by the sign – it turned out there were eight, one was obscured. Anyway, it has become known as the Seven Sisters in Seven Sisters – original huh? :D.

    It turned out the Nuns are from a reclusive sect, and were in London for an important meeting attended by the Bishop of Westminster.

  6. In the early 1970’s I played rugby for lower grade London rugby club Centaurs. After the home games the club was overflowing and everyone sang – lots of Welsh players so often in three part harmonies. Swing Low Sweet Chariot was a favourite and everyone did the actions to it and when I went to Twickenham to watch England vs Anyone the crowd sang Swing Low and did the actions. It was fun, hugely enjoyed by all. I think todays version is just a carry on from those days. It was a rugby club song with some dodgy actions especially around the word ‘coming’ but the whole crowd knew it. It has become the anthem organically.

  7. Missy

     /  March 12, 2017

    Here in the UK we are waking up with the news of riots in Rotterdam by the Turkish population. I haven’t read widely on it, but this is a carry over from a spat last week.

    Erdogan has dispatched his Ministers to European countries with high Turkish populations to hold rallies for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum in Turkey – the referendum is to give the Government more powers. This has led to criticism from European Leaders who see Turkey heading towards a more authoritarian Government.

    The rally in Rotterdam was cancelled last week for safety reasons, but the Foreign Minister decided to still go to the Netherlands, the Dutch Government last night prevented his plane from landing, saying they do not allow foreign Governments to undertake political activities in the Netherlands. A Minister was in Germany and entered the Netherlands, but was prevented from entering the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam, and was escorted back to Germany as persona non grata.

    Turkish people living in the Netherlands gathered at the Consulate to protest, and the protest apparently turned violent with them attacking police.