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Turkey calls Austria envoy over age of consent report

(AFROASIA NEWS ONLINE) ANKARA, : Turkey’s foreign ministry has summoned the Austrian charge d’affaires in protest at what it said was a “false” news ticker at Vienna airport about the age of consent, further damaging ties between the two countries.

Ankara voiced fury at the headline broadcast on screens at the airport which said Turkey allowed sex with children under the age of 15.

“This headline tarnishes the image of Turkey, and is false,” a Turkish diplomat said after the Austrian envoy was summoned to the ministry on Saturday.

The Turkish constitutional court last month ruled in favour of removing an article in the criminal code which characterises all sexual acts with a child of less 15 years as “sexual abuse”, a decision condemned by civil society groups.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom waded into the row on Sunday, tweeting: “Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed.
Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse.

The news ticker, which was a report from the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, was removed from Vienna airport’s screens following Ankara’s complaint, Turkish news agency Dogan reported.

The incident came little more than a week after a similar row over another ticker displayed at the airport, in which the same newspaper declared: “If you go to Turkey, you are supporting (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan.

This message was also taken down following a complaint from Turkish authorities.

Relations between Ankara and Vienna have taken a dive in recent days, with several Austrian ministers speaking out against Turkey’s longstanding bid to join the European Union, particularly in the wake of the massive purge that followed the July 15 coup bid.

Austrian Defence Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil has compared Turkey to a “dictatorship”, while Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu decried Austria as the “capital of radical racism”.

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