Turkey’s Prime Minister has been accused of creating unrest by Austrian politicians after he called on Turks in Austria to reject ‘assimilation’.
Speaking in front thousands of Turkish people in Vienna on Thursday, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called on them to say “no to assimilation” and “yes to integration”.
“You will learn to speak fluent German and will carry your relations with the Austrian community to an excellent level but you will not be assimilated,” he said.
The speech comes after the Austrian government had warned Erdogan not to fracture society in Austria. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said: “Erdogan’s address to Turks in Vienna should not harm the integration process and should support it.”
Far right Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache had also said last week that Erdogan should ‘stay home’.
Following the speech, Kurz criticised Erdogan’s remarks, saying: “These show very clearly that the Turkish premier has brought the election campaign to our country and created unrest with this.”
Vienna was hit by anti-Erdogan demonstrations on Thursday, with fourteen people arrested as they marched through the streets and near to where the Turkish PM was giving a speech at an adapted ice-rink.
The counter demonstration officially ended at 18:00 about 300 metres from the final pro-Erdogan rally – but a large police presence in between the opposing groups ensured any conflicts were kept to fist waving and aggressive name calling.