VIENNA (ANF) – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced last week that 60 imams with ties to the Turkish state and their families were to be deported as part of “efforts to combat political Islam”. Kurz also said 7 mosques were to be closed, and pointed out that the decision was made particularly after children were put in military uniforms in Turkish mosques. But despite the same practice happening in various European countries including Germany, only Austria has made such a decision, which is fiercely protested by the AKP government. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke about Kurz yesterday and said:
“Your amateurish attitude could cost you a lot. You must know that closing a mosque in Austria and deporting religious men would start the battle of the cross and the crescent again, for which you will be responsible.”
After Erdoğan openly targeted Kurz with these comments, AKP supporters started to post death threats especially on social media. According to an article by the Austrian News Agency (APA), security forces in Vienna have taken these threats by AKP supporters very seriously.
KURZ PLACED UNDER STRICT PROTECTION
Austrian intelligence and counter terrorism units are in pursuit of the people who posted said social media messages. A government official spoke to the Österreich newspaper and said Kurz has been placed under strict protection.
The official said, “The Chancellor is better protected now than ever before,” and added that security forces have launched investigations to identify the people posting death threats to Kurz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
According to information leaked to Austrian press, the best special operations units in the country called the Cobra have been protecting Kurz since the weekend.
This intense protection for the country’s conservative leader is reported to continue for a while longer.
Chancellor Kurz had used cautious language when he announced the decision against mosques and imams and had said: “Our country has no place for parallel societies, politic Islam or radicalization.”
When images of ATIB, the Turkish state’s religious affairs institution in Austria, dressing children in army uniforms and making them reenact the Battle of Çanakkale first emerged, Kurz had said: “This matter has no place in Austria, we will not tolerate such things at all.”