The former vice-president of a group linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is forming a political party in Vienna to counter “xenophobia” and to specifically give a voice to migrants.
The new migrant party, which so far has no name, is the brainchild of Hakan Gördü, the ex-vice-president of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) and is allegedly not just a party for Muslims, Kronen Zeitung reports.
Mr Gördü is not the first person in Austria to demand migrants have greater representation as migrant parties, like the New Movement for the Future (NBZ), another Turkish-migrant founded party, have attempted to enter politics in the past.
Gördü resigned from the UETD citing safety concerns after attacking critics of Erdoğan’s AKP on Austrian television as the organisation was accused of calling on its members to report anyone they thought could be linked with the July 2016 failed coup attempt to Turkish authorities.
At the time, he also defended Turks who took to the streets to support Erdoğan in Vienna saying: “We did not take to the streets for Erdoğan, we took to the streets for the Turkish people’s pro-democracy movement.”
“Why are people on the street? I think one reason is that they do not have enough representatives in Austrian politics,” he added.
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The rallies were largely condemned across the Austrian political spectrum with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who was the foreign minister at the time, calling on Turks to be loyal to Austria or they were welcome to leave.
Since the coup attempt, the Turkish government is believed to have tried to expose and even intimidate opposition Kurds and members of the Gülen movement which Turkey blames for the failed coup. In Germany, imams of the DITIB, the Turkish-German Islamic association, even admitted to spying on behalf of the Erdoğan regime.
Austria has also had problems with imams of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria (ATIB) which came under heavy criticism earlier this year with the Austrian government promising to expel up to 40 of them.
Gördi describes his new party, which he seeks to run in 2020, as a civil rights movement saying: “Our group consists of Serbian, Chechen groups, Turkish bloggers, Austrian activists, Pakistanis, Afghans.” But he admitted they all were focused on combatting the recent burqa ban and were against “Islam-bashing” despite not officially being a Muslim party.