Turkish minister barred from entering Austria for July 15 event

Austrian foreign ministry says Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci's planned event is "very big" and the visit represented a "danger for public order and security in Austria."

Photo by: Reuters Archive
Photo by: Reuters Archive

People took to the streets in Turkey and across Europe in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he battled to regain control during last July’s attempted coup.

Austria said on Monday it has barred a Turkish minister from entering the country to attend an event marking the anniversary of last year's failed coup in Turkey.

The planned event of Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci was "very big" and the visit represented a "danger for public order and security in Austria," said a spokesman for Austria's foreign ministry.

There was no immediate comment from Turkey.

The decision follows a similar move by the Netherlands, which said on Friday that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes was not welcome to visit for a ceremony among Turkish expatriates to commemorate the anniversary.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan also complained last week that he was not allowed to speak to Turks in Germany during his visit to the country for a G20 leaders' summit, telling a newspaper that Germany was "committing suicide."

"I can confirm that Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has in fact forbidden the Turkish economy minister from entering the country," the spokesman for Austria's foreign ministry said,

Austria has been one of the most vocal critics in the European Union of Turkey's security crackdown since the failed coup last July in which 240 people were killed.

Vienna has repeatedly called for Turkey's EU accession talks to be stopped.

In the past year, Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 people and suspended or dismissed some 150,000, including soldiers, teachers and civil servants, over alleged links to the failed coup.

Monday's decision also echoes a dispute in March between Turkey and several countries with large Turkish populations, including the Netherlands and Austria.

Both countries blocked rallies supporting an April 16 referendum that changed Turkey’s parliamentary system to presidential system.

TRTWorld, Reuters