Dutch flag replaced with Turkey’s at consulate

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A picture taken on March 12, 2017 in Istanbul shows a Turkish flag fluttering at the Dutch Consulate after protesters replaced briefly the Netherlands’ national flag with a Turkish one. Protesters briefly took down the Dutch flag at the Dutch consulate in Istanbul and replaced it with a Turkish one. (AFP)
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People wave Turkish national flags during a demostration near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam on March 11, 2017 after the Turkish Family Minister was barred by police from entering the Turkish consulate and escorted out of the country. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2017

Dutch flag replaced with Turkey’s at consulate

ROTTERDAM: A man has climbed onto the roof of the Dutch consulate in Istanbul and replaced the Netherlands’ flag with the Turkish one.
Television footage shows a man standing on the roof of the building shouting Allahu Akbar, Arabic for “God is great.”
A small group of men holding Turkish flags are seen outside the consulate shouting “Damn Holland” and “Racist Holland.”
The incident occurred Sunday morning amid escalating tensions between the two NATO allies after the Netherlands barred two Turkish ministers for campaigning for an upcoming referendum on Saturday.
Private Dogan news agency reports the consulate later took down Turkey’s flag and put the Dutch flag back up.
The man is still unidentified.
Police in Rotterdam say they arrested 12 protesters as a demonstration outside the Turkish consulate devolved into rioting.
Police spokeswoman Patricia Wessels said the arrests were made for violence and public order offenses as Dutch-Turkish protesters pelted police with bottles and rocks early Sunday.
Police responded with batons and a water cannon.

Wessels says seven people were injured in the brief explosion of violence, including a police officer who suffered a broken hand.
The confrontation came at the end of a long standoff in which Dutch authorities refused to allow Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya into her country’s consulate in downtown Rotterdam.
A small number of protesters reacted angrily when they heard that Dutch police were driving the minister to the German border.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he was forced to keep two Turkish ministers from traveling within the Netherlands and to bar them from campaigning among Turkish voters because Ankara had threatened sanctions against his government.
Rutte said Sunday, “We can never do business under this kind of blackmail.”
The prime minister says he was shocked to see one of the ministers try to get to a Rotterdam rally by car after the government had made clear she was not welcome.
Turkey’s minister of family affairs was escorted back to the German border after a long standoff outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.
Earlier, the Dutch government had withdrawn the landing rights of the plane carrying Turkey’s foreign minister.
The ministers planned to urge Turkish expatriates to back the referendum, which would expand the president’s powers.
Rutte says: “We drew a red line.”


World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

Updated 24 January 2020

World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

  • Economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee will attend the event

JAIPUR: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) started on Thursday.

Known as the “greatest literary show on earth,” the five-day event brings to one venue more than 500 speakers of 15 Indian and 35 foreign languages, and over 30 nationalities.

Among the festival’s participants are Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners.

The event has been expanding, with over 400,000 people attending it last year and even more expected to show up this time.  The growing crowd has made the medieval Diggi Palace, which hosts it, look small, and organizers are planning to shift the event to a bigger venue next year.

Scottish historian and writer William Dalrymple, one of the organizers, said: “The first time we came to the Diggi Palace in 2007, 16 people turned up for the session of which 10 were Japanese tourists who walked out after 10 minutes, as they had come to the wrong place. Things have improved a little since then. We are now formally the largest literature festival in the world.”

Dalrymple, who has extensively written on medieval India and South Asia, has played a pivotal role in promoting the festival.

The other two organizers are its director, Sanjoy K. Roy, and writer Namita Gokhale, who along with Dalrymple made the JLF become one of the most sought-after events in India.

“Why has the literary festival taken off in this country in this extraordinary way? It goes back to the tradition of spoken literature, the celebration of literature orally through the spoken word has deep roots in this country,” Dalrymple said.

“So the idea that a literary festival is a foreign import is something that can’t be maintained. We’ve tapped into something very deep here. Literature is alive and is loved in India,” he said.

Inaugurating the festival’s 13th edition, celebrated British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy said: “Every number has its own particular character in the story of mathematics. For me it is 13; 13 is a prime number, an indivisible number, and the JLF is certainly a festival in its prime.”

The festival this year is taking place amid a raging debate about India’s new citizenship legislation and mass agitation on the issue of preserving the secular fabric of the nation.

Reflecting on the prevailing mood in the country, Roy, in his opening remarks, said: “We are now faced with a situation where we see a spread of the narrative of hatred. Literature is the one thing that can push back against it and so can be the arts. All of us have a responsibility to do so and this is not the time to be silent anymore.”

Gokhale said: “Ever since its inception 13 years ago, we at the Jaipur Literary Festival have tried to give a voice to our plural and multilingual culture. We live in a nation which is defined by its diversity, and it is our effort to present a range of perspectives, opinions, and points of view, which together build up a cross-section of current thinking.”

She added: “We seek mutual respect and understanding in our panels — it is important to us that these often conflicting ideas are respectfully presented and heard. We also resist predictable and self-important all-male panels, and try to ensure that the vital voices of women resonate through all aspects of our programming.”

One of the attractions of the event this year is the presence of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who won the prize in economics last year.

There are also panel discussions on Kashmir, the Indian constitution and history.

The prevailing political situation in South Asia is also reflected by the absence of Pakistani. Before, popular Pakistani authors would attend the JLF, but delays in visa issuance and a hostile domestic environment forced the organizers to “desist from extending invitations.”