North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ends partnership deadlock over Turkey-Austria dispute

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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states have agreed to approve collaborations with non-members on a case-by-case basis following member Turkey's move to veto cooperation between the military alliance and non-member Austria.

Turkey, meanwhile, is expected to uphold its veto on Austrian participation, officials said.

Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987.

Turkey is angry with Austria for trying to block its bid to join the EU.

Turkey joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952, and talks its accession to the European Union have been ongoing since 2005.

Austria has been prevented from taking part in exercises or future operations with the alliance despite the fact it has more than 400 troops serving alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Kosovo.

"We hope the bilateral issues between Austria and Turkey will be solved as quickly as possible", the official said.

Partner countries do not sign up to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation collective defence commitment of the 28 member states but are seen as an important political signal, for example in countries such as Georgia and Ukraine locked in bitter disputes with Soviet-era master Russian Federation.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting is planned for Thursday, at the 28-nation alliance's Brussels headquarters.

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"Turkey is endangering the security interests of Europe".

Earlier, various media outlets reported that Turkey was vetoing NATO's cooperation with Austria.

But according to reports, the 28 permanent members have now altered the rules and cooperation "will be planned on an individual basis, rather than collectively", an unnamed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official told AFP.

"This will substantially reduce the risk of blockages to cooperation with partners across the board", the official said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed Austria for frosty relations with the European Union, amid tensions over illegal immigration via Turkey and his huge crackdown on political opponents. "The blockade has a long-term impact on the peace missions in the Western Balkans", he added.

While this allows for cooperation between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other countries to resume, Turkey still has the veto on Austria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders' summit on May 25 in Brussels.

It is not the first time Turkey has disagreed with the alliance partners and members, especially in recent years.

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