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Austrian venue cancels 'political' Turkish music concert

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Austrian venue cancels 'political' Turkish music concert
A view over Innsbruck, where the concert was due to take place. Photo: Michela Simoncini/Flickr
16:07 CET+01:00
The venue for a Turkish music concert in Austria cancelled the event on Thursday over its apparent "political" nature, amid an escalating row between Turkey and the EU.

Innsbruck's Olympic Hall said it took the decision on the basis of "information about the organization of the event (on Saturday) and about the performing artists Osman Oztunc and Gokhan Tekin".

Guenther Platter, premier of Tyrol state in western Austria, said that the musicians "clearly belong to the Turkish nationalist and far-right scene and are close to the Grey Wolves".

The Grey Wolves are the radical wing of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The ultra-nationalist MHP is the main ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) in pushing through constitutional changes to create a strong presidential system.

Turks will vote on these changes in a referendum on April 16th. Critics say they will give Erdogan too much power.

Germany, the Netherlands and other EU states have blocked Turkish officials from holding campaign rallies for the referendum, drawing an irate response from Ankara.

Four events in Austria by an AKP politician and a former minister were cancelled last weekend.

Some 360,000 people of Turkish origin call Austria home, including 117,00 Turkish citizens.

Platter said that he would "not allow the polarizing Turkish referendum campaign to be imported into Tyrol".

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