Turkey has condemned claims by the Austrian authorities that it is conducting espionage operations in their country, saying that the allegations are based on rising anti-Turkey sentiment. The accusations followed the filing of charges yesterday against a man who Austria claims has confessed to being a Turkish intelligence agent.
“We reject the unfounded allegations made about our country by the Austrian authorities,” said a spokesman for Turkey’s Foreign Ministry. Hami Aksoy maintained that such claims are based on anti-Turkish political sentiment in Austria. “It is clear that anti-Turkey circles are behind these allegations, which saddens the Turkish community in Austria and damages Turkey-Austria relations.”
The central European state is home to a significant Turkish community of around 300,000 people, as well as a large Kurdish community.
Tensions between the two communities led to clashes between Turkish and Kurdish protestors in the Austrian capital Vienna in June. Austria blamed Turkey for the tensions and for straining relations between the Vienna and Ankara further. The clashes also sparked the investigation into the alleged espionage activities within Austria.
Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın also criticised the Austrian government. He posted on Twitter a section of an article by German news agency Deutsche Welle headlined “Turkey wants to divide Austria”.
In the caption accompanying the screenshot, Kalın mocked, “Is it just Austria? What a shame.” He followed this with three smiley faces.
Sadece Avusturya’yı mı?
Ne ayıp…😃😃😃 pic.twitter.com/eWIO8pYTd2
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) September 1, 2020