A recent statement from Austrian Defense Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil regarding "creeping Islamization" and the increase of Turkish influence in the Balkans has been at the center of a recent spat between Ankara and Vienna over the former's blockade on the latter in NATO, high-level diplomatic sources told Daily Sabah.
"The importance of the EU in the Balkans has disappeared. To the contrary, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are building their own sphere of influence," Doskozil said earlier this week, adding that Austria "has observed creeping Islamization in the Balkans." High-level Austrian diplomatic sources said Doskozil's statements accusing Turkey of working for the Islamization of the region and building up influence there are "related to the recent NATO spat."
According to sources, the Austrian minister's statements should be interpreted as being within the same context as the NATO blockade. Doskozil also contended that "Turkey will soon deploy more and more troops to the Balkans as a result of NATO operations."
Turkey recently vetoed the role of Austria in NATO programs and soldier training programs in NATO-member states. Now that the veto has been placed on Austria, the Austrian military is unable to send troops to train with other member states and will be excluded from significant alliance programs such as the Partnership Cooperation Menue (PCM).
Ankara's blockade on Vienna came after the latter allegedly implemented an anti-Turkey policy in the wake of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern in August that same year also called accession talks with Turkey a "diplomatic fiction", saying he wanted EU leaders to reconsider their approach to Ankara.
Moreover, Kern seemed disturbed to see the support of Turkish-Austrians for the Turkish president and state following the July 15 coup attempt. In his remarks following the coup attempt, Kern had criticized Turks' anti-coup protests in Austria calling protestors "radical".
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who is expected to become the next chancellor of the country in the October elections, has long called for the end of the Turkey's EU accession process. The foreign minister urged Brussels to halt EU accession talks with Ankara last year.
Regarding Turkey's blockade of Austria in NATO programs, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the matter is very simple. "Whoever blocks [Turkey] will get blocked. The matter is that easy." he asserted on May 24.
Despite the gloomy picture regarding Turkish-Austrian relations, Ankara recently took a positive step amid efforts to improve ties with Austria. Daily Sabah learned that Turkey's ambassador to Austria Hasan Göğüş, who was previously recalled in August 2016, would continue his duties in Vienna, and Austrian ambassador to Ankara Klaus Wölfer was given a seat at Erdoğan's table at the 10th Annual Iftar Dinner for Foreign Mission Chiefs held in Ankara on June 6.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at the time that Turkey was withdrawing its ambassador to Austria, explaining that the envoy was called back to Ankara "for consultations and to revise the scope of relations." Ankara's decision came after Austrian authorities banned Turkish citizens from holding a rally in response to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in the country while allowing a pro-PKK march to take place.
Even though the reappointment of the Turkish envoy to Vienna was positively received, the recent NATO spat coupled with Doskozil's statements have once again strained relations. In this regard, high-level Austrian diplomatic sources said that Vienna expects Ankara to "take more steps and send more positive signals" for the full normalization of ties.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.