WILL AUS­TRIAN ELEC­TIONS BE AN­OTHER FAR RIGHT VIC­TORY?

The pos­si­bil­ity of an Aus­trian politi­cian who fol­lows an ex­treme far-right dis­course in the elec­tion cam­paign gain­ing a seat in the up­com­ing gov­ern­ment is fright­en­ing

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - SAADET ORUÇ

NOT ONLY prej­u­diced politi­cians, but also cen­ter-right lead­ers in Europe played a big role in the re­cent pop­u­lar­ity of far-right cam­paigns

The rise of far-right dis­course in Europe seems to be ac­cel­er­at­ing as Aus­tria is about to elect a new gov­ern­ment in a vote on Sun­day. Ac­cord­ing to polls, the far-right Aus­trian Free­dom Party (FPÖ) ap­pears it will at least be a part­ner in the new Aus­trian gov­ern­ment. As a po­lit­i­cal fig­ure who has re­port­edly re­ceived train­ing at neoNazi or­ga­ni­za­tions, the head of the FPÖ, Heinz-Chris­tian Stra­che, claimed at the be­gin­ning of the elec­tion cam­paign that Aus­tria is be­ing “Is­lam­i­fied,” call­ing for a ban on what he re­ferred to as “fascis­tic Is­lam.”

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, Is­lam, refugees and fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights were bru­tally tar­geted to re­ceive max­i­mum sup­port from Aus­tri­ans. Here, it can be noted that Aus­trian ap­proval for the ac­cel­er­a­tion of the farm right is sure to dam­age the prin­ci­ples and the unity of the EU. How­ever, what is sad is these big­oted dis­courses and hos­tile at­ti­tudes to­ward Is­lam and refugees, or what they like to con­sider the oth­ers, have been met with sym­pa­thy among seg­ments of Aus­tria’s public, demon­strat­ing the far-right party’s firm base in the coun­try.

Ac­tu­ally, these trends in Aus­tria are not new. Ex­am­ples of these dan­ger­ous ap­proaches to­ward Mus­lims and refugees were re­cently seen in other Euro­pean coun­tries dur­ing their na­tional elec­tions, not only among racist Euro­pean politi­cians, but also by cen­ter-right lead­ers who played big roles in the re­cent pop­u­lar­ity of far-right cam­paigns.

The sup­port given to Ma­rine Le Pen’s Na­tional Front (NF) in France, the suc­cess of the Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) in Ger­many and Geert Wilders’s Party for Free­dom in the Nether­lands, point to a dan­ger­ous trend in the po­lit­i­cal and strate­gic pic­ture of the 28-mem­ber bloc.

An­other in­stance fol­lowed the in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum held in Cat­alo­nia, Spain, con­firm­ing the lim­its of Euro­pean de­ci­sion mak­ers re­gard­ing the unau­tho­rized de­mands of oth­ers for fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights. The rise of the far right through­out Europe should be eval­u­ated in light of devel­op­ments in au­ton­o­mous re­gions look­ing to break away from their states. The vi­o­lent re­sponses of the cen­tral gov­ern­ments to­ward these de­mands for in­de­pen­dence also are in line with the cur­rent phe­nom­e­non of the far-right’s in­creased pres­ence. Clearly, noth­ing re­mains of the EU’s sa­cred prin­ci­ples, which once in­cluded re­spect for in­di­vid­ual rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms.

Bri­tain’s prepa­ra­tions in the Brexit process and the de­mands for in­de­pen­dence from some au­ton­o­mous re­gions are dom­i­nat­ing the EU’s agenda with the te­dious task of com­bat­ting the far right’s rise and big­otry. If the bloc gives in, mem­ber states will have to ac­cept be­ing sur­rounded by prej­u­dice and make a deal with far-right lead­ers. How­ever, it would mean the end of the union’s goals of sol­i­dar­ity and de­vel­op­ment.

Lastly, ex­clud­ing Turkey from the mem­ber­ship process will also con­trib­ute to the col­lapse of the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of the union. Since Turkey might present an an­ti­dote for Europe’s cur­rent sit­u­a­tion con­tam­i­nated by the rise of the far right and hos­til­ity for Is­lam.

A tram passes an elec­tion cam­paign posters of top can­di­dates from Aus­trian po­lit­i­cal par­ties ahead of the gen­eral elec­tions, Vi­enna, Aus­tria, Oct. 5.

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