ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continued his salvoes against Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz over Vienna’s decision to shut down seven mosques and expel 40 imams, calling on Germany to “straighten him out.”
“I’m making a call to the Austrian prime minister: You are young yet and you need experience. Your inexperienced behaviours like these can cost you heavily,” Erdoğan said at a late night event to mark the Islamic observance for Laylat al-Qadr on June 10.
Repeating his earlier warning that Austria’s decision “may start a crusader-crescent war,” the Turkish president added: “I am also making this call to the whole West, particularly to Germany: Straighten out your man. Otherwise the situation may get out of hand. We have some steps to be taken in accordance of our arguments. We will not let our 250,000 brothers be oppressed there [in Austria]. We will do what is needed.”
Erdoğan’s remarks were a response to the measures announced by Kurz on June 8 to expel several foreign-funded imams and shut seven mosques in a crackdown on “political Islam.”
Kurz said the investigation on several mosques and associations conducted by the Interior Ministry and the Office of Religious Affairs had been concluded and that the activities of seven mosques were found to be forbidden, one of them belonging to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB).
The Austrian chancellor added that the imams would be deported on grounds of being foreign funded.
“Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalization have no place in our country,” Kurz said.
‘We will ignore Austria’s term presidency’
Meanwhile, Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik vowed that Ankara will take “serious steps” against Austria and he will not pay any visit to the country during its EU term presidency between July 1 and Dec 31 this year.
“We will ignore Austria’s term presidency,” Çelik said in a televised interview on June 11.
Describing the Austrian government as a “powder barrel” for the future of Europe, Çelik blasted Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as “the symbol of racism and anti-Islamic sentiment.”__Hurriyet