Dual citizenship for Turks must be lifted: Austrian far-right politician

DAILY SABAH WITH REUTERS
ISTANBUL
Published 28.04.2017 21:48
Updated 28.04.2017 21:49

The far-right runner-up in Austria's presidential election last year, Norbert Hofer, said on Thursday that there should be no dual citizenship for Turks until Ankara discloses how many Turks in Austria still hold Turkish citizenship.

The number of immigrants holding illegal dual-citizenship has come into focus in Austria since Turkey held a referendum that approved sweeping new powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, putting pressure on Austria's interior minister.

In Austria, where officials implemented aggressive anti-Turkey rhetoric, 73 percent votes went for "yes" in the Turkish referendum with a turnout rate of 48 percent.

"If I could decide I would no longer naturalize any Turks until we get all the information there is from Ankara about dual citizenships," Hofer told Oe24 TV, an Austrian Daily newspaper. Hofer's anti-immigration and Freedom Party (FPO) has led opinion polls ahead of the ruling centrist parties for over a year, buoyed by rising concerns over immigration.

Some other European politicians were also not happy with the will of their nationals of Turkish origin, who hold dual citizenship. Hours after the unofficial referendum results were announced, parliamentarians from all three coalition parties of the federal Belgian government called for an end to the dual nationality practice.

These kinds of comments by European politicians on Turkey reflect the EU's non-consistent road map for Turkey and different voices have been raised regarding what should be the next step against Ankara.

European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri recently called on the EU to immediately suspend Turkey's accession negotiations if Ankara does not pledge to refrain from applying the changes stated in the constitutional package approved by the public in the April 16 referendum. A war of words between Turkey and the EU erupted last month after several countries stopped Turkish politicians holding rallies intended to drum up support for Erdoğan.

The voter turnout for citizens living abroad was 48 percent with 1.4 million having a say in the referendum, 7 percent higher than the Nov. 1, 2015 general elections. Despite having to travel long distances to reach polling stations at the consulate generals, the turnout is higher than many of the national elections in Europe.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands have publicly took a stand against those supporting the constitutional changes during the referendum campaigns. While supporters of terror groups and opposition parties were allowed to carry out meetings and rallies, ministers were barred from gatherings and even entering into the countries. These developments are believed to be the main motivation behind a high turnout and strong support for the "yes" campaign. The police violence on a peaceful crowd outside the Turkish Consulate General in Rotterdam was considered a breaking point for many expat Turks, who were already cross with the government of the countrıes they are living in for being PKK-friendly.

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