Austria’s right-wing coalition government will bar Turkish politicians from campaigning on its territory ahead of June elections in Turkey, the chancellor has said, according to a report by Reuters.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called snap parliamentary and presidential elections this week, bringing the votes forward by more than a year so that Turkey can switch to a powerful new executive presidency system that was narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
Ahead of that referendum, Turkish ministers sought to drum up support in countries with large Turkish communities, like the Netherlands and Germany. Those countries imposed bans on security grounds that angered Ankara, and Erdoğan and some of his allies at the time compared the German government to the Nazi regime.
“Erdoğan’s Turkish leadership has been trying to exploit Europe’s communities of Turkish origin for many years,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told ORF radio in remarks broadcast on Friday. “Turkish election campaign appearances in Austria are unwanted and we will therefore no longer allow them.”
Austria’s opposition to such events is, however, not new. The previous chancellor, a Social Democrat, said last year that he would try to prohibit any campaign appearances by Turkish ministers. A law has since been passed giving the government greater powers to ban foreign political gatherings.
Several hundred thousand people in Austria are Turkish or of Turkish origin.