Politics 15:57 11/06/2018 Region

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Austria’s mosque move 'will lead to war'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to take action against the Austrian government's decision to shut down seven foreign-funded mosques and potentially expel dozens of Turkish Muslim clerics, a move he dubbed as "anti-Islamic."

"These measures taken by the Austrian chancellor are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent," Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul on Saturday, referring to Christianity and Islam, DW reports.

"You do this and we sit idle? It means we will take some steps too," he said, adding that the "western world should get their act together."

The Austrian government said on Friday that it would potentially expel dozens of imams and close several mosques in a move to tackle political Islam and stem the foreign financing of mosques.

Reacting to the announcement, a spokesman for Erdogan said that Vienna's move was "a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in the country."

Around 360,000 people of Turkish origin, including 117,000 Turkish nationals live in Austria. Ties between Ankara and Vienna have deteriorated in recent months with Kurz's anti-immigration speeches and opposition to Turkey's EU membership bid.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Friday his government was shutting down a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in the capital, Vienna, and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community, which runs an additional six mosques.

The chancellor said the initiative followed an investigation into images that emerged in April of young boys wearing Turkish uniforms marching, saluting, playing dead and waving Turkish flags. The pictures were found to have come from the Cologne-based Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organization, a branch of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).

"There is no space in our country for parallel societies, political Islam and radical tendencies," said Kurz. 



Source Panorama.am
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