VIENNA - Agence France-Presse
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) addresses supporters after European Parliament elections on May 25. AFP Photo
Austrian far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
on Sunday to "stay at home," ahead of a controversial election rally planned in Vienna later this month.
"This is just a propaganda campaign for his Erdoğanistan. I find this
alarming," Freedom Party (FPOe) leader Strache told the daily Oesterreich.
"We don't need Erdoğan in Vienna. I'll tell him right now: 'Erdoğan, stay at home'," he added, insisting that Erdoğan was seeking to establish a
"parallel society" in Austria.
Erdoğan is expected to hold a rally in Vienna on June 19 in what is seen as a bid to win overseas votes ahead of presidential elections in August - although he has yet to announce his candidacy. An estimated 100,000 eligible Turkish voters live in Austria.
Last month, a similar rally in Germany was attended by some 20,000 Erdogan supporters. But it also drew some 40,000 protesters who blasted Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) as fascist and anti-democratic.
So far, no bilateral meetings have been planned for the Turkish premier during his Austrian visit. "If he wants to come here on a state visit, he may of course. But he won't be meeting any politicians during his Vienna visit," said Strache.
The populist Freedom Party (FPOe) opposes Turkey's proposed admission to the European Union
and is also strongly anti-immigration and anti-Islam.
In recent EU elections, the FPOe - which has been seeking an alliance with France's National Front and Italy's Northern League - won 19.7 percent of votes, finishing third behind the ruling parties.