Turkish families minister drops case against Netherlands over Rotterdam rally row

Turkey’s families minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya has dropped her legal action against her ‘expulsion’ from the Netherlands after she was barred from attending a campaign rally in Rotterdam.

De Telegraaf reported that the government in The Hague authorised national counter-terrorism co-ordinator Dick Schoof to declare Kaya an ‘undesirable alien’, but the minister left the country on her own volition before the measure could be enforced.

Kaya was at the centre of a stand-off in the early hours of March 12 when she tried to attend a rally in Rotterdam in support of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign to extend his presidential powers in a referendum.

She was barred from entering the Turkish consulate during a stand-off lasting several hours, during which a crowd of Erdogan’s supporters massed outside the building waving Turkish flags. Kaya was eventually given a police escort to the German border.

Earlier in the week the Dutch government had withdrawn the landing rights for foreign affairs minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu, who was due to address a rally of Dutch Turks. Turkey retaliated by closing diplomatic posts and ordering the Dutch ambassador to stay out of Ankara.

Sources quoted in the Telegraaf said Schoof gave a written order to Rotterdam’s police chief, Fred Akerboom, on behalf of the cabinet stating that Kaya was not welcome in the country. The document was to be used as a last resort if the minister refused to go voluntarily.

In the immediate aftermath of the row Kaya vowed to take legal action against the Dutch state because it had failed to explain why she was required to leave the country. However, sources told the Telegraaf that the case had been dropped because she had not formally been expelled.