BRUSSELS -- European Council President Donald Tusk says Turkey's allegations of fascism in the Netherlands are "completely detached from reality."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Dutch of being the "remnants of Nazis" and "fascists" after authorities in the Netherlands prevented two Turkish ministers from holding rallies in the city of Rotterdam over the weekend to court the votes of Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands for an April 16 referendum to enhance Erdogan's powers.
At a European Parliament session on March 15, Tusk called Rotterdam "the city of Erasmus, totally destroyed by the Nazis, which now has a mayor born in Morocco. If any anyone sees fascism in Rotterdam they are completely detached from reality."
"The Netherlands is Europe and today I want to say that Europe is the Netherlands -- a place of freedom and democracy," he said.
Tusk's comments came as the Netherlands holds parliamentary elections seen as a test of anti-immigrant and nationalist sentiment.
His remarks were echoed by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who told the European parliament that he was "scandalized" by Erdogan's comments.
Erdogan continued his verbal attacks on the Netherlands on March 15, falsely claiming that the Dutch -- rather than Bosnian Serb forces -- killed thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
"They have nothing to do with civilization. They have nothing to do with the modern world. They are the ones who massacred over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims...in the Srebrenica massacre," Erdogan said.
In fact, lightly armed Dutch UN peacekeepers were overrun and failed to halt the slaughter.
A day earlier, Erdogan said the Dutch character was "broken" by the massacre, Europe's worst mass killing since World War II.
With reporting by RFE/RL's Brussels correspondent Rikard Jozwiak, Reuters, and AFP