Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), has proclaimed his respect for the Turkish community and Islam during a meeting with the Turkish ambassador, Kadri Ecvet Tezcan. After having praised Turks in Austria as “hard-workers,” Strache called Turkey an “outstanding country which Austrians love to visit,” and stated that the many Islamic places of worship in Austria were a matter of course, and that through dialogue many prejudices could be countered. For his comments, Strache was presented with Islamic prayer beads as a gift by Tezcan, which Strache accepted before rolling cameras. Turkish-language newspapers in Austria have stated they are now “curious to see Strache’s future behavior towards Turks and Islamic,” following these moderate statements.
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