Turks who voted for Erdoğan would be better off in Turkey than Austria, deputy says

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Johann Gudenus, Vice Mayor and Provincial Deputy Governor of the Austrian capital Vienna and politician of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO)

A prominent member of Austria’s Freedom Party, the junior partner in the country’s coalition government, has said Turks in Austria who voted for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be “clearly better off in Turkey than Austria,” The Washington Post reported on Monday.

Support for Erdogan in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections Sunday appears to have been particularly high among Turkish citizens living in Austria, whose government has clashed with the Turkish leader in the past.

Nationalist Freedom Party member Johann Gudenus also said, “This election result just confirmed once again that the integration of thousands of Turks in our country has failed miserably.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had announced on June 8 that Austria would close seven mosques and expel an unspecified number of imams under a law passed in 2015 that forbids foreign sponsorship of mosques and their clergy.

“Parallel societies, political Islam and tendencies toward radicalization have no place in our country,” Kurz said after a photo appeared in the media showing children’s impersonation of soldiers and martyrs inside a Turkish mosque during a play telling the story of the Gallipoli War.

“I am afraid that the steps by the Austrian prime minister will take the world to a crusader-crescent war,” President Erdoğan said in response to Kurz on June 10.

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