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Turkey withdraws ambassador to Austria amid diplomatic row

Published 22/08/2016

Foreign secretary Mevlut Cavusoglu said the ambassador was called back to Ankara for
Foreign secretary Mevlut Cavusoglu said the ambassador was called back to Ankara for "consultations"

Turkey's foreign minister said the country has withdrawn its ambassador to Austria following a growing diplomatic spat.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said the ambassador was called back to Ankara for "consultations".

Ties between Turkey and Austria have been tense for several weeks, with a top Austrian official saying Turkey was heading toward a dictatorship and other leaders calling for an end to Turkey's European Union membership talks.

Turkey, in turn, has described Austria as the "capital of radical racism ".

Mr Cavusoglu said Ambassador Hasan Gogus was withdrawn after Austrian authorities decided to allow alleged supporters of Turkey's Kurdish rebels to hold a demonstration in Vienna over the weekend.

He also cited rising anti-Turkish rhetoric in Austria.

Mr Cavusoglu said: "We saw that... the PKK and its supporters were given permission to stage a demonstration in Vienna.

"This does not comply with honesty or sincerity. We couldn't stay inactive against this attitude which supports terrorism."

He was referring to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey and its allies consider a terror organisation.

Fighting between the PKK and Turkey's security forces resumed last year after a fragile peace process collapsed.

The group has stepped up attacks targeting police and military in Turkey and at least a dozen people were killed in a string of bombings last week.

Mr Cavusoglu said Austria's top diplomat in Ankara was also called to the ministry over the demonstration in Vienna.

There was no immediate response from Austrian officials.

"Unfortunately, the ground for our bilateral relations and co-operation to continue as normal has disappeared," Mr Cavusoglu said.

AP

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