Austria to ban famous Rabia sign of Turkish President Erdoğan

Austria’s Interior Minister Herbert Kickl announced that the Austrian government is planning to ban certain Turkish hand signs, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Rabia, as a part of measures to be taken against extremist groups, Euronews reported on Wednesday.

If the ban is imposed, people using those signs in public will have to pay a fine starting 4,000 euros ($4,600).  The ban may include some political Turkish hand gestures like the Rabia and the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolf.

The Rabia has been a trademark of Erdoğan since 2013 after the government of the Muslim Brotherhood was toppled by a military coup in Egypt. Islamists in Egypt used the gesture during protests against the coup.

The Grey Wolf sign is widely associated with a nationalist youth organization that engaged in street battles against leftists in the 1970s.

While the far-right Freedom Party in Austria’s coalition government supports the ban to strengthen liberal democracy, many think it may, in fact, mean limiting freedom of expression, Euronews said. (Ahval)

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