Turkey and Austria have traded barbs, with the Turkish foreign minister calling Austria the "capital of radical racism" and his Austrian counterpart telling Turkey to moderate its tone.

The spat came after Austrian chancellor Christian Kern on Wednesday said Turkey was heading toward a dictatorship and questioned whether the EU should continue membership negotiations with Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday accused Kern of making a series of comments on Turkey that were "each uglier than the other," and of making disparaging comments against Turks living in Austria, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz responded on Twitter: "Urge the Turkish foreign minister to restraint & reject his criticism sharply. Turkey must moderate its choice of words and actions at home!"