A recent clampdown on seven mosques and expulsion of 60 Turkish Imams by Austria’s right wing government has sparked condemnation from Ankara.
Ibrahim Kalin, spokesperson for the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reacted strongly against the move, calling it ‘racist and discriminatory’.
“It is an attempt to target Muslim communities for the sake of scoring cheap political points,” Kalin tweeted. “The Austrian government’s ideologically charged practices are in violation of universal legal principles, social integration policies, minority rights and the ethics of co-existence. Efforts to normalize Islamophobia and racism must be rejected under all circumstances.”
Earlier Austria’s government planned to shut down seven mosques, one of which operates as a Turkish Nationalist group, ‘Grey Wolves’ as a response to a scandal which had seen children reenacting the first world battle of Gallipoli, eliciting widespread coverage from the Austrian media. The battle is considered to be a military disaster which took the lives of more than 80,000 Turkish troupes while fighting the Allied Powers.
The vice chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Cruz has said that, “parallel societies, political Islam, and radicalisation” has no place in Austrian society.” This comes in response to a recent ban introduced in 2015, cutting the foreign fun of religiously inclined groups.
Austria is known to have a vast majority of Turkish muslims, who support the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP). Recent announcement of new elections by Erdogan in June 24 has elicited negative response from the country, saying that it will not tolerate Turkish campaigning on its soil.