The Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday that a program put forward by the coalition government in Austria highly smacked of “discrimination” against Ankara as it contained a pledge that Vienna will not agree to Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.
“This baseless and short-sighted statement in the new Austrian government’s program unfortunately confirms concerns about a political trend based on discrimination and marginalization,” said the statement.
The conservative People’s Party (OeVP) of chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz reached an agreement on Friday with the Freedom Party (FPOe), a far-right, nationalist group, to form a coalition in the next Austrian government.
Kurz himself had been against Turkey’s bid to join the EU when he was foreign minister and had even called for a halt to the decades-long bid. His partnership with the FPOe, a rare case in Western Europe, has sparked concerns that Austria would fiercely oppose Ankara’s EU accession efforts.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the program adopted by the next Austrian government, which it accused of “dishonesty”, would bring Vienna “to the brink of losing Turkey’s friendship”, warning that Turkey would show a reaction that Austria deserves.
Some major European powers, including Germany, have rejected a formal halt to Turkey’s bid to join the EU which came after Ankara launched a massive crackdown in the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15, 2016. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a historic meeting earlier this month with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would fully back the accession bid.
However, in a move approved by Germany, the EU ordered a cut last month to funds destined to Turkey in the 2018 budget, saying there were still doubts about Ankara’s commitment to democracy and human rights.—Agencies