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Two ministers placed in police protection

The move became necessary after Turkish nationalists had sent death threats to the two politicians.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Integration Minister Susanne Raab have been placed under the protection of Austrian Special Police Unit Cobra, from midnight on Wednesday, according to APA, the Austrian Press Aagency. The action came after the two ministers have received death threats from a Turkish extremist organisation called Gray Wolves on social media.

"I am not intimidated by threats. I will not deviate from my course and will continue to take decisive action against extremist ideologies such as political Islam and Turkey's influence", Susanne Raab said in a statement issued by OVP on Wednesday.

Karl Nehammer announced on Monday that he would initiate a roundtable discussion on the rise of radicalism in Austria. "We are declaring zero tolerance for violence, regardless of which side it comes from. It is also clear that there is no reason to resolve Turkey's conflicts on Austrian soil," the interior minister said on Wednesday.

Local Turkish and Kurdish minorities have been staging street demonstrations and engaging in clashes in Vienna for a week now. In recent days, members of the Gray Wolves and other Turkish extremist organisations have used bottles and firecrackers to attack Kurds, far-left Antifa activists and police securing the demonstration in Vienna's Favoriten district. On Thursday, several hundred Turks, shouting "Allahu Akbar", clashed with demonstrating Kurdish activists and the police, throwing stones, bottles, and fireworks at them. Two officers were injured, several people were arrested and authorities launched proceedings in 34 instances.

The weekend saw continued riots by Turkish radicals, so Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has summoned Turkish ambassador Ozan Ceyhun to his office, announced "zero tolerance" for street violence and ordered to reinforce police presence in Vienna and other cities. On Monday Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called on his Turkish counterpart to help Ankara consolidate the situation, instead of "pouring oil on the fire." On Tuesday Chancellor Sebastian Kurz accused Turkey of "inciting unrest," with the Turkish media branding Austria a "PKK country."

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