Austria warns Turkey's Erdogan not to interfere in European politics

"I quite clearly reject the continual interference by Erdogan in internal affairs of other states."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Sunday criticized recent remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who called on German Turks not to vote for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and other parties.

“I quite clearly reject the continual interference by Erdogan in internal affairs of other states – and this is something that is not just taking place only in Germany,” said Kurz in an interview with the German national daily Die Welt.

Relations between the Turkish states and European Union (EU) countries, which Ankara has for decades hoped to join, plummeted in recent years particularly after the Syrian refugee and migrant crisis and the military coup attempt in 2016 against Erdogan’s rule.

“Erdogan is trying to manipulate Turkish communities in Germany and Austria,” Kurz continued. “He is polarizing these countries and importing conflicts from Turkey to the EU.”

Austria is holding general elections next October in which the 30-year-old Kurz, the leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), eyes to become the country’s youngest chancellor ever.

“I am calling on all my countrymen in Germany: the Christian Democrats, SDP, the Green Party are all enemies of Turkey,” Erdogan had said on Friday.

“Support those political parties who are not enemies of Turkey,” he added.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel described Erdogan’s statement as an “unprecedented act of interference” in condemnation.

Erdogan took the matter personally and attacked Gabriel’s character.

“Who are you that you dare speak to the President of Turkey? Talk to Turkey’s Foreign Minister. Know your limits. How come you teach us a lesson? What’s your past in politics? Who are you? How old are you?” He asked Gabriel.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara are already tense because of the arrests of the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who Erdogan has accused of being a spy, and German human rights activist Peter Steudtner.

On the other hand, Ankara accuses Germany of protecting supporters of the failed military coup as well as members of the Kurdish opposition.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany