Austria has summoned Turkey’s ambassador for explanation about Ankara’s possible links to recent Turkish protests in Vienna and a widening crackdown following Friday’s coup attempt.
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on Thursday the ambassador should clarify whether protests held in recent days in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been encouraged by Turkish officials.
“We have evidence that the demonstrations for Erdogan that have taken place in Vienna were called for directly from Turkey,” Kurz told public broadcaster Oe1, calling them “absolutely untenable.”
Thousands of demonstrators from Austria’s 300,000-strong Turkish community have marched through the capital, waving flags and chanting slogans in support of President Erdogan.
The Austrian foreign minister said his country is “worried that Turkey is now developing increasingly authoritarian traits.”
“We have therefore summoned the ambassador to clarify in which direction Turkey will develop,” he added.
The summons came a day after Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency following last week’s coup, which has seen some 60,000 civil service employees dismissed.
Kurz described as “unacceptable the dismissal of thousands of public servants, massive interference in the justice system and the arrests of many officials” following the botched coup.
“The coup attempt needs to be condemned but it’s not a free license for such actions,” he said.
The Austrian foreign minister further called on the European Union to exert financial and verbal pressure on Turkey.
“We as Europe need to stand by our values, especially in these increasingly uncertain times. We must not look away when there are aberrant developments in Turkey,” he said.
On Thursday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Turkey’s state of emergency should only last as long as it’s “absolutely necessary.”
Any action should only be taken against those with “a provable involvement in punishable actions” and not “an alleged political attitude,” Steinmeier added.
Nearly 10,000 people have been arrested, including several top generals whom the government is accusing of masterminding the coup attempt.
On Thursday, Turkish state media said a further 32 judges and two military officers have been detained by authorities during the crackdown since last week’s coup.
Erdogan has said he is ready to reinstate the death penalty if the Turkish people demand it and parliament approves the necessary legislation.