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Austria summons Turkish envoy over post-coup crackdown concerns

world Updated: Jul 21, 2016 13:56 IST

Pro Erdogan supporters wave Turkish flags during a rally at Kizilay Square in Ankara on Wednesday. Vienna has called Turkey’s ambassador over concerns that Turkey is now developing increasingly authoritarian traits.(AFP)

Austria said it will summon Turkey’s ambassador on Thursday to discuss Ankara’s “increasingly authoritarian” behaviour and allegations it had been behind recent Turkish protests in Vienna.

The announcement came a day after Turkey imposed a three-month state of emergency following last week’s coup, which has seen some 50,000 people arrested or sacked.

“We’re worried that Turkey is now developing increasingly authoritarian traits. We have therefore summoned the ambassador to clarify in which direction Turkey will develop,” foreign minister Sebastian Kurz told public broadcaster Oe1.

Read: Turkey’s Erdogan declares state of emergency for three months after coup bid

“What we’ve seen in recent days was in many ways unacceptable: the dismissal of thousands of public servants, massive interference in the justice system, the arrests of many officials,” he said.

“The coup attempt needs to be condemned but it’s not a free licence for such actions.”

Kurz also denounced large Turkish pro-regime rallies, which took place in Vienna last weekend.

Thousands of demonstrators from Austria’s 300,000-strong Turkish community marched through the capital waving flags and chanting slogans in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

At one point, tensions escalated and a Kurdish restaurant was vandalised.

“We have received information that the pro-Erdogan protests... had been directly ordered from within Turkey. That is of course untenable and we want to protest against that,” said Kurz.

The foreign minister added that the European Union needed 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.