Turkey criticises Austria’s handling of Kurdish-Turkish protests

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday (Jun 29) strongly criticised Austria’s handling of Kurdish protests in Vienna by groups the ministry said were linked to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

There were some small Kurdish demonstrations last week that Turkish nationalist counter-protesters sought to disrupt, throwing stones and fireworks, according to Austrian police.

Police said they made three arrests and that another protest on Saturday was peaceful.

“Austria’s ambassador to Ankara will be invited to our ministry and informed of our concern about the four days of protests, and the use of force against Turkish youths by Austrian security forces,” the ministry said.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Twitter on Sunday: “We do not want to see images of violence in the streets in Austria, particularly in Vienna, and will therefore not allow conflicts be brought from Turkey into Austria!”

Austria’s Foreign Ministry said over the weekend it would invite Turkey’s ambassador for a discussion on Monday.

PKK militants have been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The Turkish military is currently conducting operations against the PKK in northern Iraq, where it has bases. The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

The ministry said it condemned “harsh intervention” by Austrian security forces which resulted in youths of Turkish-origin being injured and some workplaces belonging to the Turkish community suffering damage during the protests. 


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