Turkey says does not welcome comments from Austria on Erdogan visit

People wave with flags showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is expected to address a crowd of around 10,000 in Oberhausen, Germany, February 18, 2017, to promote Turkey's constitution referendum on April 16, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey on Monday criticized Austria after its foreign minister said President Tayyip Erdogan was not welcome to campaign among Turks living in Austria for a referendum to be held in Turkey in April.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a news conference that Turkey "did not welcome" statements by the Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz regarding any visit by Erdogan before the vote.

The referendum did not concern Austria, Kurtulmus said. Turks will vote on April 16 in a constitutional referendum that would increase Erdogan's executive powers.

Earlier on Monday, Kurz told the tabloid Heute: "Election campaign appearances (in Austria by Erdogan) are not welcome."

He said Erdogan could come to Europe and Austria for bilateral visits "like any other top politician", but added that Austria rejected someone bringing the Turkish election campaign and polarization to Austria.

Austria is home to a substantial Turkish population. Erdogan has campaigned among Turks living in Europe ahead of elections in the past.

(Reporting by Ercan Gurses and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; Writing by David Dolan, editing by Larry King)

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