Turkey: Ground for bilateral cooperation with Austria has disappeared

Turkey: Ground for bilateral cooperation with Austria has disappeared

Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:14PM

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador to Austria for “consultations” and will start to review relations with the European country, says Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“Unfortunately, the ground for our bilateral relations and cooperation to continue as normal has disappeared,” said Cavusoglu on Monday.

Relations between the two countries have been souring over the past few weeks.

At the beginning of the month, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern slammed Ankara’s post-coup crackdown, saying that is an example of why Turkey cannot join the EU.

Since July 16, when Turkey declared the end of the one-day coup attempt, the country has arrested tens of thousands of people as part of its massive crackdown on alleged putschists. Western governments have criticized the arrests as well as about 70,000 cases of dismissals and suspensions involving members of the military and public institutions, saying Ankara is acting beyond the rule of law.

Kern also criticized the ongoing talks with Turkey over its the EU accession, referring to it as “fiction.”

Cavusoglu added that the Austrian ambassador to Turkey was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over a large rally held in Vienna in support of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey deems as a terrorist organization.

    “We saw that… the PKK and its supporters were given permission to stage a demonstration in Vienna,” he said. “This does not comply with honesty or sincerity. We couldn’t stay inactive against this attitude which supports terrorism.”

Earlier in the month, Turkey summoned Austria’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara over an Austrian newspaper’s criticism of a move by Turkey to lower the age at which sexual activity with minors is considered “abuse.”

At the time, the Turkish Foreign Ministry referred to the move as “image-tarnishing” misinformation.

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