Austrian far right concerned by Turkish anti-coup rallies

Austrian far right concerned by Turkish anti-coup rallies

VIENNA - Anadolu Agency
Austrian far right concerned by Turkish anti-coup rallies

Erdogan-supporters demonstrate in front of the parliament in Vienna, Austria, on July 16, 2016, as a military coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was under way. AFP photo

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party candidate for president has called for an investigation on Turkish residents who took to the streets of the capital Vienna in the wake of the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey. 

In an interview with the daily Österreich, Norbert Hofer called Aug. 14 for an investigation into Turkish residents who crowded Vienna streets with Turkish flags to support democracy in Turkey and stand against a coup attempt to topple the Turkish government. 

Tensions between Austria – where around 300,000 people of Turkish origin live – and Turkey were raised last month when the mayor of Wiener Neustadt, around 50 kilometers south of Vienna, called for the removal of Turkish flags hung by residents on their flat’s windows and balconies celebrating the defeat of the July 15 coup attempt. 

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has also spoken out against “importing the political conflict to Austria” following demonstrations in support of Turkish democracy. 

Hofer added he was concerned that numerous Turks had Austrian citizenship. Austrian law imposes strict restrictions on dual citizenship. 

He called for a “ban on naturalization for Turks living in Austria until the dual citizenship issue is solved.” 
Hofer went on to say that if Turkey joined the EU then he would support an Austrian exit from the bloc.        
On Aug. 3, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern had called accession talks with Turkey a “diplomatic fiction” and said he wanted EU leaders to reconsider their approach with regards to Ankara and end Turkey’s EU accession talks. 

Turkey formally launched its membership bid in 2005 and since then the EU has opened 15 policy chapters out of the 35 required to join the bloc, although it has only successfully completed one.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Aug. 4 rejected Austria’s call for the EU to end membership talks with Turkey, warning that it would be a grave error.

On July 1, Austria’s Constitutional Court annulled the results of May’s presidential election and called for a rerun. 

Gerhart Holzinger, the court’s president, ordered a repeat of the run-off vote that saw former Green leader Alexander Van der Bellen narrowly beat Hofer.

The court said the election would have to be repeated nationwide after the discovery of irregularities in the count in several voting districts. 

Austria’s presidential election will take place on Oct. 2. 

Turkey also summoned Austria’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara late on Aug. 13 over what it said was “indecent report” about Turkey on a news ticker at Vienna airport, a Foreign Ministry official said. 

“Turkey allows sex with children under the age of 15,” read a headline on an electronic news ticker at the airport, images circulated on social media showed, to which the Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted by summoning the Austrian diplomat.