Three PVV hating judges declare that Moroccans are a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands.
Dutch Court: Lawmaker Wilders Guilty of Hate Speech
A Dutch court convicted populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders of hate speech Friday at the end of a trial he branded a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech.
Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence because the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected lawmaker. Prosecutors had asked judges to fine him 5,000 euros ($5,300).
In a tweet, Wilders called the verdicts “madness” and said that he had been convicted by three judges who hated his Party for Freedom.
Wilders was not in court for the verdict that came just over three months before national elections. Wilders’ party is currently narrowly leading a nationwide poll of polls and has risen in popularity during the trial.
Even before the hearing, Wilders vowed not to let a conviction muzzle him.
“Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me,” he tweeted shortly before the verdict.
He had denied the charges and insisted he was performing his duty as a political leader by pointing out a problem in society.
Before declaring Wilders guilty, Steenhuis stressed that freedom of speech was not on trial as Wilders had claimed during the case.
“Freedom of speech is one of the foundations of our democratic society,” the judge said. But he added: “Freedom of speech can be limited, for example to protect the rights and freedoms of others, and that is what this case is about.”
The politically charged prosecution centered on comments Wilders made before and after the Dutch municipal elections in 2014. At one meeting in a Hague cafe, he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. That sparked a chant of “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” — to which he replied, “we’ll take care of it.”
Prosecutors say that Wilders, who in 2011 was acquitted at another hate speech trial for his outspoken criticism of Islam, overstepped the limits of free speech by specifically targeting Moroccans.
On Friday, he was convicted for the interaction with the crowd of supporters in the Hague cafe, which judges said was carefully orchestrated and broadcast on national television. He was acquitted for similar comments he made in a radio interview a week earlier.
ANKARA/ROTTERDAM, March 12 (Reuters) - Turkey told the Netherlands on Sunday that it would retaliate in the "harshest ways" after Turkish ministers were barred from speaking in Rotterdam in a row over Ankara's political campaigning among Turkish emigres.
President Tayyip Erdogan had branded its fellow NATO member a "Nazi remnant" and the dispute escalated into a diplomatic incident on Saturday evening, when Turkey's family minister was prevented by police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.
Hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags gathered outside, demanding to see the minister.
Dutch police used dogs and water cannon early on Sunday to disperse the crowd, which threw bottles and stones. Several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. They carried out charges on horseback, while officers advanced on foot with shields and armored vans.
Less than a day after Dutch authorities prevented Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam, Turkey's family minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, said on Twitter she was being escorted back to Germany.
"The world must take a stance in the name of democracy against this fascist act! This behavior against a female minister can never be accepted," she said. The Rotterdam mayor confirmed she was being escorted by police to the German border.
Kaya later boarded a private plane from the German town of Cologne to return to Istanbul, mass-circulating newspaper Hurriyet said on Sunday.
The Dutch government, which stands to lose heavily to the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders in elections next week, said it considered the visits undesirable and "the Netherlands could not cooperate in the public political campaigning of Turkish ministers in the Netherlands."
The government said it saw the potential to import divisions into its own Turkish minority, which has both pro- and anti-Erdogan camps. Dutch politicians across the spectrum said they supported Prime Minister Mark Rutte's decision to ban the visits.
In a statement issued early on Sunday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey had told Dutch authorities it would retaliate in the "harshest ways" and "respond in kind to this unacceptable behavior."
Turkey's foreign ministry said it did not want the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return from leave "for some time." Turkish authorities sealed off the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul in apparent retaliation and hundreds gathered there for protests at the Dutch action.
Erdogan is looking to the large number of emigre Turks living in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, to help clinch victory next month in a referendum that would give the presidency sweeping new powers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will do everything possible to prevent Turkish political tensions spilling onto German soil. Four rallies in Austria and one in Switzerland have been canceled due to the growing dispute.
Erdogan has cited domestic threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants and a July coup bid as cause to vote "yes" to his new powers. But he has also drawn on the emotionally charged row with Europe to portray Turkey as betrayed by allies while facing wars on its southern borders.
The Dutch government had banned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from attending a rally on Saturday in Rotterdam but he said he would fly there anyway, saying Europe must be rid of its "boss-like attitude."
Cavusoglu, who was barred from a similar meeting in Hamburg last week but spoke instead from the Turkish consulate, accused the Dutch of treating the many Turkish citizens in the country like hostages, cutting them off from Ankara.
"If my going will increase tensions, let it be ... I am a foreign minister and I can go wherever I want," he added hours before his planned flight to Rotterdam was banned.
Cavusoglu threatened harsh economic and political sanctions if the Dutch refused him entry, and those threats proved decisive for the Netherlands government.
It cited public order and security concerns in withdrawing landing rights for Cavusoglu's flight and said the threat of sanctions made the search for a reasonable solution impossible.
"This decision is a scandal and unacceptable in every way. It does not abide by diplomatic practices," Cavusoglu told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday evening.
Dutch anti-Muslim politician Wilders, polling second ahead of Wednesday's elections, said in a tweet on Saturday: "To all Turks in the Netherlands who agree with Erdogan: Go to Turkey and NEVER come back!!"
Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, said: "This morning on TV (the Turkish minister) made clear he was threatening the Netherlands with sanctions and we can never negotiate with the Turks under such threats. So we decided ... in a conference call it was better for him not to come."
'NAZI REMNANTS, FASCISTS'
Addressing a rally of supporters, Erdogan retaliated against the decision to prevent the Turkish foreign minister from visiting Rotterdam.
"Listen Netherlands, you'll jump once, you'll jump twice, but my people will thwart your game," he said. "You can cancel our foreign minister's flight as much as you want, but let's see how your flights will come to Turkey now."
"They don't know diplomacy or politics. They are Nazi remnants. They are fascists," he said.
Rutte called Erdogan's reference to Nazis and Fascists "a crazy remark." He added: "I understand they're angry but this is of course way out of line."
Erdogan chafes at Western criticism of his mass arrests and dismissals of people authorities believe were linked to a failed July attempt by the military to topple him.
He maintains it is clear the West begrudges him new powers and seeks to engineer a "no" vote in the referendum.
Barred from the Netherlands, Cavusoglu arrived in France on Saturday ahead of a planned speech to Turkish emigres in the northeastern city of Metz on Sunday, a Reuters witness said. Earlier, an official at the Moselle regional prefecture told Reuters there were currently no plans to prevent the meeting from going ahead.
A member of the Union of European Turkish Democrats also said on Saturday via a Facebook post that the Turkish foreign minister would no longer come to Switzerland for a planned event on Sunday after failing to find a suitable venue.
Zurich's security department, which had unsuccessfully lobbied the federal government in Bern to ban Cavusoglu's appearance, said in a statement on Saturday evening it was relieved the event had been canceled. (Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Writing by Ralph Boulton and Daren Butler; Editing by David Clarke and Simon Cameron-Moore)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said a Dutch ban on his foreign minister's visit was like Nazism, as tensions rocketed over rallies abroad to help Ankara gain backing for a key vote.
His comments came after the Netherlands said it would refuse Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu permission to land for a rally to gather support for a referendum on boosting Erdogan's powers.
The Dutch decision to ban Cavusoglu from visiting and holding a rally in the port city of Rotterdam came after Germany and other European nations also blocked similar campaign events.
Unlike in Germany, where a string of planned rallies were barred by local authorities, in the Netherlands it was the government that stepped in to block Cavusoglu's visit.
"They are the vestiges of the Nazis, they are fascists," Erdogan told an Istanbul rally Saturday, days after he angrily compared moves to block rallies in Germany to "Nazi practices".
"Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on let's see how your flights will land in Turkey," Erdogan said.
Turkey promised to avoid the flight ban and send another minister to Rotterdam "by land", while Cavusoglu flew to France where he is expected to address a rally Sunday in the eastern city of Metz.
A French official said the visit had been cleared by the foreign ministry in Paris, while a French diplomatic source said the go-ahead was in line with the principle of freedom to hold public gatherings.
As the row raged, Turkish foreign ministry sources said the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul had both been sealed off for "security reasons".
- 'Crazy' comments -
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Erdogan's criticism was "crazy."
"I understand that they are angry but this is way out of line," he said. "I really think we made the right decision here."
Cavusoglu, speaking in Istanbul, said the ban was "unacceptable".
"Why are you taking sides in the referendum?" he said, adding: "Is the foreign minister of Turkey a terrorist?"
The Turkish foreign ministry said the Dutch charge d'affaires in Ankara was summoned and told that Turkey did not want the Dutch ambassador -- currently on holiday -- to return "for a while".
Turkey's official Anadolu news agency reported that the Turkish family and social policies minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya would go to Rotterdam "by land" from Duesseldorf in Germany, citing her ministry as a source.
The Netherlands is home to some 400,000 people of Turkish origin, and Ankara is keen to harness votes of the diaspora in Europe ahead of the April 16 referendum on creating an executive presidency.
The Turkish government argues the changes would ensure stability and create more efficient governance but opponents say it would lead to one-man rule and further inflame tensions in its diverse society.
Erdogan accused the Netherlands of working against the "Yes" campaign and said: "Pressure however much you like. Abet terrorists in your country however much you like.
"It will backlash, and there's no doubt that we'll start retaliating after April 16... We are patient. Whoever is patient will reach victory."
- Turkish diaspora -
Dutch far-right anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders celebrated the government's ban, attributing it to "heavy PVV pressure", in a reference to his party, which appears set to emerge as one of the largest in elections to the Dutch parliament on Wednesday.
The latest row came after NATO allies Turkey and Germany sparred over the cancellation of a series of referendum campaign events there.
Germany is home to 1.4 million people eligible to vote in Turkey -- the fourth-largest electoral base after Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
Although Berlin insisted that the string of cancellations by local authorities were down to logistical reasons, Turkish officials repeatedly hit back, leading to Erdogan's angry "Nazi" remark.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said such rhetoric was "depressing", belittled Holocaust victims and was "so out of place as to be unworthy of serious comment".
Berlin has emerged as a strident critic of Ankara's crackdown after an attempted coup last July, which has seen more than 100,000 people arrested, suspended from their jobs or sacked for alleged links to the plotters or to Kurdish militants.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_the_NetherlandsThe position of the Prime Minister has been enforced by the creation of the European Council.
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