In comments that targeted the Dutch Freedom Party's anti-Islam stance, Turkey's President Abdullah Gül warned that the use of extremist anti-Islam views in politics is dangerous and would bear grave consequences.
The Turkish president was responding to a question on how the Dutch far-right Freedom Party’s anti-Islam policies would affect Turkish-Dutch ties during a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on Wednesday.
Gül said "all kinds of opinions can exist in countries which believe in pluralism," but warned against the use of extremist views in politics. "Some anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas in Europe had results that could never have been imagined before World War II. So, if these ideas are misused for political purposes, they can be dangerous, they can spread quickly and cannot be brought under control," Gül said. "We see such instances in countries where Islamophobia is seen. So, everyone has to be careful."
In a weekend tweet, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, known in the Netherlands and abroad for his extreme opinions on Islam and non-Western immigrants, accused Gül of bullying Christians, beating Kurds and being a friend of Palestinian militant group Hamas.
See also "PVV provincial councillor quits over 'embarrassing' policies", Dutch News, 18 April 2012