Turkish OSCE veto causes a stir
A serious diplomatic rift has erupted between Austria and Turkey. The Turkish government decided at the weekend to veto Ursula Plassnik’s application for the position as secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The former Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) foreign minister said earlier this year she wanted to take over from Marc Perrin de Brichambaut. The French diplomat’s term ends on 30 June.
Turkey argued that the ÖVP MP "does not accept" the country’s European identity. The Austrian was harshly criticised by Turkey during her term as federal foreign minister between 2004 and 2008 due to her opposition to the country’s bid to join the European Union (EU). Austria became a member of the EU in 1995. Turkey has held talks with European leaders about an accession since the 1960s.
ÖVP Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said today (Mon) Turkey’s veto was "totally incomprehensible and baseless."
The minister warned Austria will consider very carefully which stand to take on Turkish regards of international meaning from now due to the country’s decision to speak out against Plassnik’s application.
Spindelegger also said that he agreed with Turkish President Abdullah Gül that the two countries will not obstruct each other’s nominations of candidates for positions in international organisations when Gül visited Austria last month. The Turkish government vehemently denied that such an arrangement was made.
The OSCE decided to put the nomination of a new secretary-general on hold due to the conflict as the appointment must be made unanimously. Reports have it that many diplomats fail to understand Plassnik’s decision to apply for the position as Austrian ambassador in France at the same time.
Italy and Portugal, and Turkey also nominated candidates for the job which Perrin de Brichambaut is in charge of at the moment. Austrian newspapers claim today that Plassnik had vital chances to become his successor before Turkey opted to veto her candidacy at the weekend. (...)