Austria’s far-right Freedom Party has launched a petition against Turkey’s entry to the EU. The campaign also condemns the planned European Constitution.
“Europe can’t afford Turkey,” said one man after adding his name to the list. “Not even the United States could afford Turkey, let alone Europe. We don’t want that. That’s the reason that I signed.”
Turkish-born caterer Murat Caglar holds Austrian citizenship, and said he was dismayed by news of the petition:
“Austria has become my second home. I love Austria, but if Austrians vote no, it would make me sad.”
One hundred thousand signatures are needed to make the petition carry any political weight. Polls suggest that 80 percent of Austrians say they object to Turkey becoming a full EU member, the highest figure of any of the 25 member states. That view is endorsed by all Austrian political parties apart from the Greens. However, the petition’s potential impact is limited. The only repercussion it could have would be to force a debate on the issue in Austria’s parliament.