Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Integration Minister Susanne Raab have been placed under police protection following death threats from the far-right Turkish Grey Wolves after a series of riots last week in Vienna.
Both ministers, who are members of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), have been given police protection since Tuesday night. They are currently being guarded by the elite Cobra unit of the Austrian police force.
Austria’s domestic security agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has also commented on the matter, saying: “We are investigating online hate and death threats against officials of the Republic of Austria.”
“I am not intimidated by the threats. I will not deviate from my course and will continue to take decisive action against extremist ideologies such as political Islam and influences from Turkey,” Integration Minister Raab said, according to tabloid Kronen Zeitung.
The death threats come as tensions continue to remain high between Austria and Turkey following a series of riots between the far-right Grey Wolves and Kurdish supporters of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and their far-left Antifa allies. Clashes occurred last week in the heavily migrant-populated Vienna district of Favoriten.
The Turkish media responded to the clashes by claiming that Austria, which banned the public display of PKK symbols and flags last year, was “a PKK country”.
Chancellor Kurz, meanwhile, slammed the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the week, saying “that there must be an end to Turkey trying to influence the people here in Austria and instrumentalising them for their conflicts”.
“Because I know exactly what Turkey is trying to do here: namely to use Turks in Europe to sow strife and to create moods here and there above all for Turkey’s own interests,” he said.