Authorities at Vienna International Airport were criticized by the Turkish government on Sunday over an electronic message board displaying “irresponsible, twisted and incorrect messages”, reported Anadolu Agency.
The news ticker belongs to Kronen Zeitung newspaper and is placed above a flight information board at the airport. On July 31, it carried a headline reading “Turkey allows sex with children under 15 years”.
The statement is thought to relate to decision by Turkey’s Constitutional Court last month to annul a law treating all sexual acts with children under the age of 15 as sexual abuse after a district court complained that the current law did not discriminate between age groups.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said: “We deplore and strongly condemn the use of an international airport… as an instrument in spreading these type of irresponsible, twisted and incorrect messages published by a newspaper that has no prestige in order to smear a friendly country and nation.”
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu summoned Austria’s charge d’affaires over the display.
The statement stressed Turkey’s adherence to international conventions on child rights and added: “Unfortunately, recent remarks by some Austrian politicians and officials against Turkey and Turkey’s European Union membership have prompted this kind of smearing news.”
On Aug. 2 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to another headline on the newspaper’s ticker that warned people against travelling to Turkey “because you will be supporting Erdogan”.
“What kind of democracy is that?” he asked a gathering of investors in Ankara. “I am not a president that came to power by military coup, rather a president who got 52 percent of the votes of the public.”
According to its website, more than 2.4 million passengers passed through the airport in July.
Tensions between Austria, where around 300,000 people of Turkish origin live, and Turkey were raised last month when the mayor of Wiener Neustadt called for the removal of Turkish flags hung by residents celebrating the defeat of the July 15 coup attempt.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz also spoke out against “importing the political conflict to Austria” following demonstrations in support of Turkish democracy.