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After receiving 'online death threats', Austrian chancellor rejects Turkish 'intimidation'

Relations have deteriorated between Turkey and Europe since a major crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following a failed coup on July 15. In photo:?Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern in?on July 26, 2016.? Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Vienna, Austria Aug 02, 2016, 01.10 PM (IST)
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 today.

"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 told the Oesterreich daily.

"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 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following a failed coup on July 15, with tensions particularly high with Germany and Austria, both of which have large ethnic Turkish communities.

On Sunday, around 40,000 Erdogan 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," Erdogan said on late Friday.

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.

There are also concerns that the European Union's deal with Turkey to stop migrants coming to Europe might be in jeopardy, with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker saying last week there was a "big risk" of this happening.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday told German daily the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Ankara could withdraw from the deal if Brussels fails to allow visa-free travel for Turks by October.

But Kern said Europe should stand firm. "We are not going to go cap in hand... We need Turkey but it`s Turkey that economically speaking really needs us," he said. "Otherwise Turkey will be heading for state bankruptcy."

(AFP)
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