Chancellor Candidate: Ban Turks from Austrian Citizenship

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (back) listens as Austrian former interior minister and club chairman of right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) Herbert Kickl addresses a session of the National Council (Nationalrat) at the alternative parliamentary quarter at the Hofburg in Vienna on April 21, 2021. - Because FPOe club chairman …
ROLAND SCHLAGER/APA/AFP via Getty Images

The new Austrian populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Herbert Kickl has called on the government to suspend granting citizenship to Turkish citizens and demanded stricter asylum rules.

Kickl, who served as the interior minister in the former populist-conservative government, said he wants a suspension of granting citizenship to Turks, saying there were “very many suspicions that these neo-Austrians will then regain their old Turkish citizenship”.

The new FPÖ leader, who is likely to stand for chancellor in the next national election, added that Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also interested in having “as many foreign citizens as possible” for a “reservoir of voters”, Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.

In recent Turkish elections, Turkish citizens living in certain countries in Europe have overwhelmingly voted for Erdogan.

President Erdogan has been accused of influencing the Turkish diaspora in Europe many times, including by current Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz last year following clashes between Turkish ultranationalists and far-left Kurds and their Antifa allies in Vienna.

Earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron issued his own statement on Erdogan’s influence in his country, stating that he expected the Turkish leader and the Turkish government to make attempts to interfere in next year’s French presidential elections.

Kickl also called for a “clear separation between asylum and citizenship”, stating: “Asylum is temporary protection, nothing else. Asylum seekers are guests in our country.”

Finally, the FPÖ leader stated that he wanted to see the government agree to make it easier to strip Austrian citizenship from members of the Islamic State, a move that would affect not just those who took part in combat but supporting members of the terrorist group, as well.

The call to deny Turks citizenship is not new for the FPÖ. In 2018, the party’s former leader and vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, made the same proposal after a court refused to allow the government to strip the citizenship of dual nationals.

Austria requires prospective new citizens to renounce former citizenships to gain Austrian citizenship, with a small number of exceptions.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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