FPÖ Leader Congratulates Austrian Chancellor Over Turkey Stance

Head of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz-Christian Strache speaks during a demonstration against a refugee home in Vienna, Austria on April 18, 2016

Freedom Party leader Heinz Christian Strache has come out in support of Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern’s stance on ending Turkish European Union (EU) membership talks, as rhetoric between the two nations intensifies.

At a press conference Friday afternoon Heinz Christian Strache, leader of the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) came out in support of recent remarks by Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern over ending negotiations on Turkish membership of the EU, reports Kurier .

Mr. Strache claimed that the Austrian government’s new stance on Turkey was “better late than never” and went so far as to say that the Chancellor had taken a page from the FPÖ who have campaigned heavily against Turkish membership of the political bloc for years.

The comments made by Mr. Kern have sparked an escalation of rhetoric between Austria and Turkey with government officials on each side making statements to the press. On Thursday the Turkish EU minister reacted to Kern saying that his statements echoed “extreme right-wing ideas”, and called for the EU to allow Turkey to continue with membership negotiations.

On Friday the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu spoke of the situation in an interview with Turkish television, escalating the situation further. He said that Austria had now become “a centre of radical racism” and called Mr. Kern’s proposal to end membership talks for Turkey “ugly”.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz reacted to his Turkish counterpart calling for restraint and said the minister should do his homework on the issue. 

Mr. Strache discussed the terrorist threat to Europe from radical Islamic groups like Islamic State. He proposed a security package to deal with the terror threat which would employ a further 5,000 people into executive positions within the Federal government.

The FPÖ leader also made the recommendation of including Islamic State into the Austrian Nazi prohibition act, which would make all support for the radical terror group illegal.  “This is the fascism of modern times,” Mr. Strache said.

Separate prisons for Islamists were also proposed by the party leader who said: “Radical Islamists must be housed in separate prisons if necessary”, and highlighted the difficulty of security forces in keeping track of Islamic State fighters who return to Austria after fighting in Syria and Iraq.

He claimed that the Austrian domestic intelligence agency, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, lacked the man power to observe those returning who may plot domestic attacks like those seen in Paris, or more recently across Germany.

While many in Germany are attempting to blame mental illness for the recent attacks in Ansbach and Munich, Mr. Strache claims mental health is not the issue, but rather radical Islam is. “An accumulation of criminals who rely on Allah” are the real problem he said, adding: “Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but unfortunately almost every terrorist in the past decade has been a radical Muslim.”