ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday directed fresh verbal attacks at the Netherlands amid their growing diplomatic spat, holding the country responsible for Europe’s worst mass killing since World War II.
In a televised speech, Erdogan referred to the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, in 1995, and blamed a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces.
Erdogan said: “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.”
It was Erdogan’s latest war of words on the Netherlands, which prevented two Turkish ministers from holding campaign rallies in the country over the weekend. The two ministers had sought to campaign in an April 16 referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers, courting the votes of Turks in the Netherlands that are eligible to vote in the plebiscite. Around 400,000 people with ties to Turkey live in the Netherlands.