Vienna mayor says Turkish schools ‘possible’

Social Democratic (SPÖ) Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl revealed he could imagine Turkish schools in Austria.Speaking at a joint press conference with Kadri Ecvet Tezcan, Turkey’s ambassador in Austria, Häupl said today (Fri) he thought it was “possible” that there would be Turkish schools in the Austrian capital one day.The mayor also stressed however how important it was that young Turks living in Vienna take mother language courses. Around 6,000 immigrant students from the country currently sit such classes.Tezcan said experts have pointed out that mastering one’s mother tongue was essential to being able to learn a foreign language. He stressed this was a key condition for functioning integration.There are around 15,900 children of Turkish roots born in Turkey or Austria attending primary and secondary schools in the city. They make a 13.7 per cent share of children at primary schools, and a 17.8 per cent share at Hauptschulen (secondary modern schools).But attempts at ensuring a peaceful coexistence in Austria have suffered some sort of setback with the results of an IMAS survey revealing earlier this week that 54 per cent of Austrians agreed with the statement “Islam poses a threat for the west and our familiar lifestyle”.The agency said it had also found out 72 per cent believed Muslims would “not stick to the rules” when it comes to living in Austria.Around 500,000 Muslims live in Austria, most of them in the western province of Vorarlberg and in Vienna.While Freedom Party (FPÖ) boss Heinz-Christian Strache said the IMAS study’s results confirmed his party’s policies, Greens MP Alev Korun said there must be more encounters and communication between people to reduce lack of knowledge about religions and lifestyles.”Not being informed about other’s living customs and religions is a hotbed for prejudice and fear,” she claimed.Vienna People’s Party’s (ÖVP) integration issues spokeswoman Sirvan Ekici meanwhile claimed the Vienna SP֒s “failed integration policies” created perfect conditions for the policies of the right-wing FPÖ.Polls have shown that the ruling SPÖ is under threat of losing its absolute majority in this autumn’s Vienna parliament elections, while the FPÖ will almost certainly increase its share.