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NATO chief calls on Turkey, Austria to resolve dispute

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Austria and Turkey to resolve a diplomatic dispute that has led to some cooperation programs being blocked.

Turkey, a NATO ally, has withdrawn from some alliance participation — mostly military training — saying the move is aimed only at Austria.

“It is a very unfortunate situation and it means some cooperation programs can’t be launched,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Friday during a visit to the Danish capital of Copenhagen.

Austria, which is not a NATO member but cooperates with the alliance, led calls last year to halt Turkey’s European Union accession talks. Vienna has also spoken out against Turkish politicians holding rallies in European countries.

“It’s a bilateral situation between Turkey and Austria, and we strongly urge them to solve it, so that it won’t have negative consequences for the cooperation,” he said.

The diplomatic tensions predate a current escalation with other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, but as fellow NATO members Turkey cannot block cooperation with them.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has compared Germany and the Netherlands to fascists and Nazis for stopping Turkish politicians from holding rallies to promote a referendum granting him sweeping new powers.

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