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)