Austria's anti-Turkey Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz has said the EU should end negotiations with Turkey concerning Ankara's long-running accession talks for membership in the bloc, asserting the country has "no place in Europe."
Known for his staunch opposition to Turkey, Kurz said that a majority of EU countries has not been established yet on rupturing ties with Ankara, adding, however, that he will be helping to facilitate the process so that it can happen soon.
The young Austrian leader is the head of the conservative People's Party of Austria (ÖVP) and was sworn in as prime minister on Dec. 18 after general elections in October. Earlier in December, a coalition was formed between Kurz's ÖVP and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) after eight weeks of intense negotiations. The FPÖ's neo-Nazi connections caused concern in Austria and other EU countries. They have pledged to stop illegal immigration, cut taxes and resist EU centralization.
Last Monday, several separate marches by left wing and anti-fascist groups converged at central Heldenplatz Square. Placards included "refugees welcome" and "Nazis out" and "no Nazi pigs." Police fired a smoke grenade when some protestors tried to break through a barricade, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer said.
FPÖ head Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, previously said that Islam "has no place in Europe" and last year called German Chancellor Angela Merkel "the most dangerous woman in Europe" for her open-door refugee policy.
On Dec. 17, a Foreign Ministry statement from Turkey criticized a call by Austria's new government for a halt to Ankara's EU accession negotiations, saying it is discriminatory and ignores Turkey's rights.
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