Austrian PM vows to bar Turkey elections campaigns ahead of snap polls
VIENNA - Reuters
Austria’s right-wing coalition government, which is strongly opposed to Turkey joining the European Union, will bar Turkish politicians from campaigning on its territory ahead of snap June elections, the country’s chancellor has said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called snap parliamentary and presidential elections this week, bringing the votes forward by more than a year so that Turkey can switch to a new executive presidency system that was narrowly approved in a controversial referendum last year.
Ahead of that referendum, Turkish ministers sought to drum up support in countries with large Turkish communities, like the Netherlands and Germany. Those countries imposed bans on security grounds that angered Istanbul, and Erdoğan and some of his allies at the time compared the German government to “Nazis.”
Austria’s opposition to such events is, however, not new.
The previous chancellor, a Social Democrat, said last year that he would try to prohibit any campaign appearances by Turkish ministers.
A law has since been passed giving the government greater powers to ban foreign political gatherings.
Several hundred thousand people in Austria are Turkish or of Turkish origin.
Both parties believe the European Union should break off Turkish accession talks.