Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   24 September

Erdogan slams Austria's move to shut down foreign-funded mosques, calls Kurz ‘too young’


YEREVAN, JUNE 11, ARMENPRESS. 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,” Deutsche Welle reports.

"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.

"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, Deutsche Welle said.

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.

"There is no space in our country for parallel societies, political Islam and radical tendencies," said Kurz, whose conservative Austrian People's Party (VPÖ) rules in coalition with the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (ÖFP).

 “You are still too young. You need to have more experience. Remember, your conduct will bring great troubles for you,” Erdogan said in the speech.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

 




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