Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a referendum rally in the city of Bursa.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a referendum rally in the city of Bursa. Yasin Bulbul

Turkey halts Dutch citizens critical of Erdogan

UP TO 100 Dutch citizens have reportedly been blocked from leaving Turkey after criticising the country's president.

Those affected are of Turkish descent and had been publicly critical of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Netherlands public broadcaster NOS reported.

Dual nationals from Germany, Switzerland and other European nations were having trouble returning home, the broadcaster said.

Many had been in the country on holiday or to visit relatives, with some accused of supporting the "Hizmet” movement led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch foreign ministry said it was difficult to confirm how many citizens were affected as it only knew of those who had sought help.

"The reasons why (they have had problems leaving Turkey) are varied, but some of them may be linked to the Gulen movement,” she told The Independent.

"We immediately raised the inconvenience caused to these people with the Turkish authorities. Inquiries show that other countries' citizens are having similar problems in Turkey.”

Mr Erdogan accuses the Gulen movement of plotting a failed coup last July and classes members as "terrorists”. Some 42,000 people, including teachers and journalists, have been detained or dismissed for allegedly support the movement.

European nations and the US have pointed to a lack of evidence of the Gulen movement's involvement in the coup. - INM



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