Austrian chancellor rejects Turkish ‘intimidation’

Austrian chancellor rejects Turkish ‘intimidation’

Austrian chancellor rejects Turkish ‘intimidation’

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern attends a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, July 26, 2016. REUTERS photo

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said he will not bow to “intimidation” from Turkey after receiving online death threats as tensions rise between the EU and Ankara, in comments published on Aug. 2.

“We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated in any way. Threats, even death threats, from the right wing and the radical part of the Turkish community have become reality for me,” Kern was quoted as telling the Österreich daily by AFP.

“Appeasement has to stop. Of course there is the right to demonstrate here, but the radical elements within the Turkish community must learn to respect our way of life,” he said.

Relations have deteriorated between Turkey and Europe since a major crackdown by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following a failed coup on July 15, with tensions particularly high with Germany and Austria, both of which have large ethnic Turkish communities.

On July 31, around 40,000 Erdoğan supporters rallied in the German city of Cologne but a court rejected an application to allow live speeches to be beamed in from Turkey, including one by the president, angering Ankara.

“Look at Austria, look at Germany. People, our citizens want to hold meetings, go on marches but they stop them. They have even gone so far as to stop Turkish flags being flown from houses,” Erdoğan said late July 28.

In Austria, the mayor of the small city of Wiener Neustadt said on July 22 that he wanted the sizeable Turkish community there to remove Turkish flags from balconies, but there is no ban in place there or anywhere else in the country.