March 16, 2017
Turkey Blocks Some Cooperation with NATO partners as EU Row Escalates
By Tom Körkemeier and Shadia Nasralla, Reuters
Erdogan has compared Germany and the Netherlands to fascists and Nazis, but as fellow NATO members, Turkey is unable to block cooperation with them. A NATO official said Turkey's action was ostensibly aimed at Austria, which is not a member of the alliance but is a partner country.
"We regret the current situation and the impact it is having on all of our cooperation programs with partners," the official said. "We count on our ally Turkey and our partner Austria to solve their bilateral issue swiftly."
Austria, last year led calls for the European Union to end Turkey's EU accession talks, criticizing its response to a failed coup when it jailed tens of thousands of people. Turkish referendum rallies have been canceled in Austria.
Austria's defense ministry confirmed the Turkish block. A spokesman said there was no immediate effect on ongoing missions, but could cause problems in the longer term "for example for the preparation of missions in Kosovo, because there are joint training programs."
Another NATO official said some events had already been canceled....
Turkey's action potentially affects all 22 NATO partner states, including Sweden and Georgia, some of which contribute troops to NATO missions in places such as Afghanistan and Kosovo.