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Turkey hits out at 'anti-Islam' Austria over imam expulsions

AFP  |  Ankara 

Turkey's 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," said after 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

Austrian said that 150 people including the imams and their families risked losing their right to residence.

The clampdown comes after Austria's religious affairs authority investigated images published in April of children in a Turkish-backed playing dead and reenacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.

"Parallel societies, political and radicalisation have no place in our country," of the ruling centre-right People's Party said.

Kalin, spokesman for 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.

During the Turkish referendum campaign last year on expanding the president's powers, tensions were high between and after said it would not allow campaign-related events.

Relations were also strained by Kurz's staunch opposition to Turkey's bid to join the and the government's programme which pledged would not agree to joining the bloc.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 17:10 IST