Austria's decision to close mosques and to dismiss Imams has upset Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Austrian Chancellor's move would lead world towards a "war between Cross and crescent", said Erdoğan during a speech in Istanbul. "Do you think we will not respond if you do such a thing?" asked head of State.
The Austrian government announced on Friday that it would close seven supposedly Islamist mosques. In addition, 60 imams and ir families could be expelled. Interior Minister Herbert Kickl of right-wing populist FPOe said it was a clergyman with connections to Turkish-Islamic Cultural association Atib. Like Mosque association Ditib in Germany, Atib is also an umbrella organisation representing more than 60 clubs in Austria. It is subject to Turkish religious authority Diyanet and thus to Turkish Government.
According to Minister of Interior Kickl, Austrian government suspects imams to violate prohibition of foreign financing of religious officials. In April, Austrian Government announced an examination of mosques after a battle of First World War with children in camouflage clothing appeared in a Viennese Atib mosque. Photos showed marching and salutierende boys with Turkish flags."Fight against political Islam"
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) had announced Moscheenschließung as a measure in "fight against political Islam". "Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation tendencies have no place in our country," he said in Vienna.
Erdoğan is now threatening retaliation. "We will have to do something," he said, but did not call concrete measures. In Austria about 360,000 people of Turkish origin live, including 117,000 Turkish citizens. Relations between two countries have been tense since failed coup attempt in year 2016 and ensuing wave of arrests in Turkey. Vienna had recently banned Turkish politicians from campaigning before parliamentary elections in Turkey on 24 June.Date Of Update: 10 June 2018, 12:02