Austrian foreign minister blames Turkish PM Erdoğan for ‘disorder’ in Vienna amid thousands’ protest
VIENNA - Agence France-Presse
Kurz and Erdoğan met in Vienna on June 20. AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Austria, which sparked mass demonstrations in Vienna, has drawn more sharp words from Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who said the visit “clearly shows Erdoğan has brought his election campaign to Austria and has caused disorder.”
“We refuse to accept this. The only thing I can say is that respect for a country does not look like this,” Kurz told journalists on June 19, after as many as 10,000 people demonstrated against Erdoğan’s visit, according to figures provided by organizers and local police.
Kurz’s remarks came ahead of his meeting Erdoğan scheduled for June 20. The Turkish prime minister will meet the Austrian foreign minister before his departure for Paris, where he will meet with French President François Hollande.
Erdoğan has been increasingly accused of autocratic tendencies in Europe and a similar trip to Germany last month ruffled feathers after he spoke out against the assimilation of Turkish immigrants.
On July 19, he addressed a crowd of some 6,000-7,000 supporters from Austria’s 250,000-strong Turkish minority in a sports arena. A further 10,000 people watched his speech on a big screen outside the venue.
Erdoğan is touring European countries with large Turkish populations ahead of a widely expected run for the presidency in August.
Austrian police said they used tear gas spray after a “minor incident” when a bottle was thrown at the protesters in the Austrian capital, most of whom were from the local Turkish community. No injuries were reported.
Austria’s government had warned Erdogan against making “provocative comments” and he appeared to heed the advice in his speech, telling the crowd that “no one has anything to fear from us.”
During his address, Erdoğan said that Europe needed his country, trumpeting Turkey’s economic growth under his stewardship.
“Europe does not end where the river Danube flows into the Black Sea, but begins where the Euphrates and the Tigris begin,” he said.