Ankara, August 23, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Ankara has recalled its ambassador to Vienna, Mehmet Hasan Göğüş, “for consultations and to revise relations,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Aug. 22.
Çavuşoğlu said the move came after the Austrian authorities did not allow Turkish citizens to hold anti-coup demonstrations in the country but allowed a march in favor of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Aug. 21.
“That is why we called the Austrian charge d’affaires at our ministry … Likewise, we also recalled to Ankara our ambassador to Vienna for consultations and to revise our relations,” he added, speaking at a joint news conference with Moldovan Foreign Minister Andrei Galbur in Ankara.
Çavuşoğlu said Ankara had complained to Austria over “trying to give us freedom of assembly lessons, while at the same time not allowing even a peaceful march [in support of Turkish democracy].”
“We saw that they gave permission to demonstrate in Vienna to the PKK and its supporters. We cannot remain insensitive to this attitude supporting terrorism,” he said.
Turkey experienced a coup attempt on July 15, by a group of soldiers inside the army, who the government accuses of being the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
The attempt to topple the government failed after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on citizens to take to the streets to defend democracy.
Tensions between Austria – home to around 300,000 people of Turkish origin – and Turkey were raised last month when the mayor of Wiener Neustadt, around 50 kilometers south of Vienna, called for the removal of Turkish flags hung by residents celebrating the defeat of the July 15 coup attempt.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz had also spoken out against “importing political conflict to Austria” following demonstrations in support of Turkish democracy.
Çavuşoğlu accused Austria of being “against some terror organizations” while “supporting terror organizations attacking Turkey.”
“Unfortunately, the ground on which our bilateral relations and cooperation with Austria can be sustained has disappeared,” he said.
“We will not remain insensitive in our bilateral relations, we will take certain steps. We cannot be two-faced like them, we are against all kinds of terror,” Çavuşoğlu added.
He did not give further details on the steps to be taken, but warned: “We will approach them in the way they approach us.”
Just like Turkey, the European Union and United States also designate the PKK as a terror organization.
On Aug. 3, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern described accession talks with Turkey as a “diplomatic fiction” and said he wanted EU leaders to reconsider their approach with regard to Ankara. Later, Kern criticized anti-coup protests by Turks in Austria and called them “radical.”
Çavuşoğlu had at the time slammed the Austrian chancellor’s remarks, describing Austria as the “capital of radical racism.”