According to a report in the German newspaper Die Welt NATO has decided to alter it’s rules so that Turkey’s boycott on the prospect of cooperation with Austria can be circumvened. NATO statutes demand a collective resolution for all partnerships with non member states. Turkey’s Veto due to issues with Austria therefore blocked NATO’s entire partnership programm, as long as Austria was included in the resolution.
The dispute blocked all of NATO’s training programs and drills with it’s 41 partner states across the globe.
Not wanting to dismiss Austrian partnership by excluding it from the comprehensive resolution, but still keen on at least getting partnerships with other nations, the rest of NATO has decided to change the game. In concerns of cooperation with non-member states there will no longer be a comprehensive adoption by all 28 NATO members required. Instead each individual prospective partnership will be voted upon by NATO’s members.
As a result Turkey’s obstructionism no longer impedes the total of NATO partnerships, but effectively excludes Austria from the group of potential NATO partner states. This could force Austria to cancel it’s troop deployment for NATO in the Balkans.
Recently the relationship of Turkey with many western states has significantly detoriated. Following the failed military coup in 2016, Erdogan held a speech broadcasted on live TV in which he accused the West of entanglement with the subversive action: “This coup attempt has actors inside Turkey, but it was written outside. Unfortunately the West is supporting terrorism and stands by coup plotters.”
Turkey considers a movement around Fethulah Gülen, who resides in the US, responsible for the failed coup and demands his extradition, what the US has so far refused. As a result of the coup Turkey cutoff electricity supply to Incirlik airbase, which is used by US forces including Strategic Nuclear Forces, grounded all flights from and to it and mobilised 7000 security forces to hold the airbase in lockdown.
Ever since western politicians have been barred from visiting the site, which prompted Germany to search for alternatives for their forces in the region. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced, that an airbase in Jordan was deemed as a suitable substitute: “There is a lot of potential in this airbase and we were very grateful for a very positive reception and a lot of support”.
In addition Turkish politicians including President Erdogan were denied entry to European countries, as they planned to campaign there for the Turkish referendum held on April 16 this year. The Turkish Family Affairs Minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, who nevertheless tried to enter the state by car, was even detained by Dutch authorities and escorted back to Germany by heavily armed special forces.
The Turkish objection against Austrian partnership with NATO came in the light of the cancelation of talks on EU accession with Turkey and repeated criticism voiced by Austrian politicians against Turkish politics.