PM Rutte congratulates Erdogan on election victory; Dutch-Turks celebrate

Prime Minister Mark Rutte congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election. “I wish him every success in the coming years. I look forward to continuing to strengthen ties and work together as friends and allies,” Rutte tweeted. In several cities, Dutch Turks celebrated Erdogan’s election win. Many drove around, honking and waving the Turkish flag.

The 69-year-old Erdogan of the Islamist AK party won the second round of the presidential election on Sunday. He defeated opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdarogly (74) of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Erdogan has been in power in Turkey for 20 years, first as Prime Minister and since 2014 as president.

In Amsterdam-West, including the Mecatorplein, people honked their horns and drove around slowly with Turkish flags hanging from their cars. The same happened on Plein ‘40-’45 in Nieuw West. In the Schilderswijk in The Hauge, the streets were quite crowded, according to a spokesperson. The riot police were deployed after someone got hurt by fireworks.

Many Dutch Turks also drove around in the center of Rotterdam, broadcaster Rijnmond reported. Honking could also be heard in Roermond and Arnhem, among others. In Amersfoort, Dutch Turks gathered at De Stier roundabout, AD said. In Utrecht, many Dutch Turks drove around the Lombok district. There was also a lot of honking there. The police closed access to the area where the Ulu Mosque is also located.

Erdogan is popular among Dutch Turks. During the first round of the Turkish election earlier this month, Erdogan received 68.67 percent of the Dutch Turks’ vote, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu. 28.52 percent voted for rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The second round of results has not yet been announced in region-specific detail.

Not everyone was happy with how the Dutch Turks celebrated the election results. Writer and presenter Ozcan Akyol from Deventer posted a video of honking cars on social media and wrote: “It’s nice to honk in the liberal west because you helped conservative nationalists to profit in another country.” Leefbaar Rotterdam said the Rotterdam city center was “taken over” by honking Turks. The Rotterdam party called it a “paragon of failing integration” and will ask questions about it to the mayor and aldermen.

Reporting by ANP

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