Turkey's presidential spokesman today lambasted Austria's decision to expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and shut seven mosques as an "anti-Islam" and "racist" move.
"Austria's decision to close down seven mosques and deport imams with a lame excuse is a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country," Ibrahim Kalin said after Vienna announced the move in a crackdown on "political Islam".
"It is an attempt to target Muslim communities for the sake of scoring cheap political points," Kalin said on Twitter.
The clampdown comes after Austria's religious affairs authority investigated images published in April of children in a Turkish-backed mosque playing dead and reenacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.
Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggested the decision was part of efforts to "normalise Islamophobia and racism", which he said must be rejected.
"The Austrian government's ideologically charged practices are in violation of universal legal principles, social integration policies, minority rights and the ethics of co-existence," Kalin said.
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