Turkey vetoes Austrian cooperation with NATO due to Vienna’s anti-Turkey stance

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An Austrian soldier waits at a tank type 'Leopard' in front of other tanks after the friendship shooting of several nations during the exercise 'Strong Europe Tank Challenge 2017' at the exercise area in Grafenwoehr, near Eschenbach, southern Germany, on May 12, 2017. Platoons from NATO nations France, Germany, USA and their partners Austria and Ukraine take part in this exercise. / AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE

Turkey vetoed Austria’s participation in some NATO programs due to its anti-Turkish stance on various EU platforms ahead of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

According to a story by the BBC on Tuesday, Turkey is vetoing the participation of Austria, which is not a NATO member, in some activities of the alliance, including military training, due to its anti-Turkey attitude on EU platforms.

In a statement to the BBC on Tuesday, Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil “strongly condemned” Turkey’s veto of Austria.

Underlining that Turkey is endangering the security interests of the EU, Doskozil said: “I strongly condemn Turkey’s course of action in NATO. It is irresponsible behavior against Austria and strengthens my position that Turkey is very far from being part of the EU.”

The row between Turkey and Austria re-emerged ahead of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday with the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to documents seen by the POLITICO website, Turkey has been blocking cooperation with Austria since November of last year. But the block is also applied to other partner countries such as Finland.

The row between Turkey and Austria began last year when Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Vienna wanted Turkey’s accession talks with the EU to be frozen. Kurz’s call came after the Turkish government launched a widespread crackdown on dissidents following a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey is in NATO member, providing the most military muscle after the US, while Austria is not. But Austria cooperates closely with NATO in 41 countries, and has more than 400 troops serving in Kosovo.

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