23:45 GMT02 July 2020
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    The Turkish side confirmed that it had blocked the participation of Austria, which is non-NATO member, in several programs of the military alliance, local media reported Tuesday, citing diplomatic sources.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the BBC broadcaster reported that Ankara was vetoing the alliance's cooperation with Vienna on the ground of the European state's efforts aimed at blocking Turkey's EU membership bid. Ankara's move has also been criticized by Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil.

    According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Austria's participation was blocked in a number of NATO programs, including those focusing on military training.

    Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Turkey's membership of the European Union began in 2005, however, they have been repeatedly suspended due to various obstacles.

    A number of Austrian politicians, including Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and President Alexander Van der Bellen, have made a number of statements criticizing such issues as a crackdown on alleged supporters of the thwarted 2016 coup and the referendum on constitutional amendments in Turkey that broadens presidential powers, saying that they move Ankara away from EU values and accession to the bloc.


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    membership, European Union, NATO, Sebastian Kurz, Hans Peter Doskozil, Austria, Turkey
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