BRUSSELS (BBC) — Turkey is “completely detached from reality” in calling the Dutch fascists, European Council President Donald Tusk has said.
His remarks come amid a row between Turkey and European nations over campaigning for a Turkish referendum.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the Dutch government of being “Nazi remnants”.
He was infuriated when a minister was barred from addressing a Rotterdam rally, sparking clashes with police.
Mr Erdogan’s rhetoric intensified when he accused the Dutch of carrying out the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995. The killings of Muslim men and boys were carried out by Bosnian Serb forces and the remarks were condemned by the Dutch prime minister as a “vile falsification”.
Mr Tusk’s remarks to the European Parliament came on the day the Dutch vote in an election in which the party of centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte and that of anti-immigrant Geert Wilders are frontrunners.
The Netherlands is “a place of freedom and democracy. And for sure Rotterdam,” Mr Tusk said.
“The city of Erasmus, brutally destroyed by the Nazis, which today has a mayor born in Morocco,” he added.
“If anyone sees fascism in Rotterdam, they are completely detached from reality.”
Germany and Austria have also acted to stop Turkish rallies. The gatherings are aimed at garnering support for a “yes” vote in a 16 April referendum on giving President Erdogan greater powers.