Tuesday

16th Aug 2022

Turkey recalls ambassador from Austria

  • A pro-Kurdish rally in London, in March 2016. (Photo: Ron F./Flickr)

Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Vienna amid a deepening diplomatic row.

Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday (21 August) he was angered that people were allowed to rally in support of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government and features on the EU's list of terrorist organisations.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“Unfortunately, the ground on which our bilateral relations and cooperation with Austria can be normally sustained has disappeared,” he said. “We cannot be two-faced like them, we are against all kinds of terror.”

He accused Austria of refusing to allow a "peaceful march" in support of Turkish democracy in the wake of the foiled coup.

But he gave no details, and the Austrian police told this website it wasn't aware of any bans on demonstrations.

A pro-Erdogan rally took place in Vienna on 16 July, with roughly 4,000 people reportedly taking part.

Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz defended the right of demonstrators to protest and display loyalty with their homeland. But he said they should stop short of "importing the political conflict to Austria", after some demonstrators attacked the garden of a Turkish-Kurdish restaurant.

The mayor of Wiener Neustadt, a small town near Vienna, later asked residents to remove Turkish flags from their windows.

Another row erupted when a news ticker at Vienna airport earlier this month carried claims from Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstroem that Turkey had legalised sex with children. The allegations were denied by Turkey and refuted by legal experts.

Worsening relations

Relations between Austria - home to some 300,000 people of Turkish origin - and Turkey went downhill after last month’s coup attempt.

Chancellor Christian Kern angered Ankara when calling accession talks with Turkey a "diplomatic fiction” earlier this month and said the EU needed "an alternative concept".

He also said the Turkish citizens protesting against the coup in Austria were ”radical”.

Cavusoglu replied by calling Austria the “capital of radical racism”.

"During the coup and afterwards, instead of supporting Turkey they have done the exact opposite," Cavusoglu said.

EU not abandoning Turkey

The EU relies on Turkey to stop thousands of asylum seekers and migrants from travelling to Europe, enshrined in a migrant-swap deal signed in March this year.

Despite rising diplomatic tension, EU leaders insist that the deal must continue. But the government's post-coup crackdown has worried critics that Turkey is moving away from democracy and rule of law.

The European Commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker earlier this month rejected Austria's call for the EU to end membership talks with Turkey, warning it would be a grave mistake.

"I don't think it would be helpful if we were to unilaterally end negotiations with Turkey," he told German public broadcaster ARD, adding that such a decision can only be made with unanimity from all member states.

Turkey’s ambassador to the EU, Selim Yenel, told this website earlier this month that he hoped EU-Turkey relations would improve when leaders travelled to Turkey and saw the situation with their own eyes.

The European Parliament’s Elmar Brok, chair of the foreign affairs committee (Afet) and Kati Piri, the parliament’s rapporteur for Turkey, started an official visit on Tuesday.

Germany’s European affairs minister Michael Roth will pay a visit to Turkey later this week.

Turkey struggling to cope with refugees

Children out of school and vulnerable to radicalisation, asylum claimants pushed back from Greece, and refugees forbidden from entering from Syria - a new report paints a bleak picture of the situation in Turkey.

Opinion

EU-Turkey relations after the coup

Turkish democracy is deteriorating and drifting towards authoritarianism, as the government uses the failed coup as an excuse to purge opposition ranks.

Death penalty not on Turkey's agenda, says MP

A Turkish MP plays down the possibility of capital punishment being reintroduced, despite hints by president Erdogan that he would push for it following last month's failed coup.

Turkey threatens to scrap migrant deal with EU, again

Ankara has once again threatened to back away from a migrant deal with the EU unless visa waivers for Turks are lifted. Over 1,000 have crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands since the military coup attempt on 15 July.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists
  2. Iran responds to EU's 'final text' on nuclear deal
  3. Model minority myths
  4. EU must make public who really owns its fishing fleets
  5. Germany needs to cut gas use by 20% to stave off winter crisis
  6. Europe's wildfire destruction set to hit new record
  7. How Putin and Erdoğan are making the West irrelevant
  8. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us