News & Politics

Austria and Turkey Relations Explode: Ankara Recalls Its Ambassador from Vienna

The Islamist regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recalled its ambassador to Austria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says that Ambassador Mehmet Hasan Göğüş has been recalled “for consultations and to revise relations.”

The official reason? The Austrian government recently refused to give permission to Turkish-Austrian citizens to hold anti-coup demonstrations, while Kurdish protesters did get the OK to protest.

The Austrian government opposed the Turkish-nationalist protest because it doesn’t want to “import political conflict,” as Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said earlier.

That seems like a rather good reason to forbid a demonstration, but the Turkish authorities beg to differ. According to them, this is a matter of democracy. People have the right to protest, especially if they do so in order to show their anger at a (failed) military coup. Of course, Ankara conveniently forgets to mention that critics of the Erdogan regime are systematically persecuted in Turkey itself. Besides, Çavuşoğlu argues, the Kurdish protest was, in fact, in support of the PKK, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization that has been at war with Turkey for decades.

As a result, the Turkish foreign minister says that “unfortunately, the ground on which our bilateral relations and cooperation with Austria can be sustained has disappeared. 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.” He adds: “We will approach them in the way they approach us.”

That’s the official storyline, and Turkish media are sure to parrot it. In fact, however, there’s much more going on. Austria has been highly critical of Turkey’s regime for a while now. On Aug. 3, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern even went so far as to describe EU accession talks with Turkey a “diplomatic fiction.” He also called on his European colleagues to revise their relationship with Turkey in response to Erdogan’s anti-Gülenist purges in which teachers, academics, soldiers, police officers, and journalists are sacrificed on the altar of Turkish Islamic-nationalism.

In other words, Austria has the audacity to call out Erdogan.

Ever since Kern made those statements, Ankara has been waiting for an excuse to “punish” him. The Kurdish protest combined with the ban on a Turkish demonstration gave Erdogan and Çavuşoğlu the excuse they were looking for.

The good news? Austria is a well-respected member of the European Union. Kern and Kurz are held in higher regard than Erdogan and Çavuşoğlu, both of whom are considered to be Islamist autocrats who oppose traditional European values such as democracy, freedom of the press, and human rights. Both behind the scenes and publicly, increasingly more European leaders are saying they’re fed up with Erdogan.

Let Erdogan wage a war of words with Chancellor Kern. If the Turkish president becomes overly aggressive and intimidating, it’ll be he, not Kern, who’ll end up alone and forced to the fringes of the international community.