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'Erdogan, stay at home'

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'Erdogan, stay at home'
HC Strache. Photo: Wikimedia
15:52 CEST+02:00
Austrian far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday to "stay at home," ahead of a controversial election rally planned in Vienna later this month.

"We don't need Erdogan in Vienna. I'll tell him right now: 'Erdogan, stay at home'," Freedom Party (FPOe) leader Strache told the daily Oesterreich.

Erdogan is expected to hold a rally in Vienna on June 19th in what is seen as a bid to win overseas votes ahead of presidential elections in August -- although he has yet to announce his candidacy.

An estimated 100,000 eligible Turkish voters live in Austria.   

Last month, a similar rally in Germany was attended by some 20,000 Erdogan supporters. But it also drew some 40,000 protesters who blasted Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) as fascist and anti-democratic.

Erdogan has come under increasing pressure at home over the past year for what many perceive as a move towards a more authoritarian rule.

So far, no bilateral meetings have been planned for the Turkish premier during his Austrian visit.

"If he wants to come here on a state visit, he may of course. But he won't be meeting any politicians during his Vienna visit," said Strache.

"This is just a propaganda campaign for his Erdoganistan. I find this alarming," he added, insisting that Erdogan was seeking to establish a "parallel society" in Austria.

The populist Freedom Party (FPOe) opposes Turkey's proposed admission to the European Union and is also strongly anti-immigration and anti-Islam.

In recent EU elections, the FPOe -- which has been seeking an alliance with France's National Front and Italy's Northern League -- won 19.7 percent of votes, finishing third behind the ruling parties.

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