Austria has rejected a formal request by Turkey to join one of the EU’s flagship defense and security policies, known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation Framework (PESCO), Arab News reported on July 28.
In its decision, Austria pointed to Turkey's deteriorating democratic values and relations with the EU, according to the report.
PESCO covers 46 joint defense projects in partnership with 24 EU member states and is one of the union’s key defense and security policies.
Turkey had submitted an application to participate in the military project in May, despite tense relations with Greece and Cyprus.
Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, told Arab News: “Austria’s position may be expressed in stark terms, but it probably reflects the overall EU stand on the matter of Turkey’s participation in PESCO."
“The overall reason is that Turkey’s current rule-of-law architecture has not much to do with Europe’s anymore and nobody sees much of a prospect for improvement,” he reportedly said.
Rising tensions between Turkey and Greece as well as Cyprus are also said to pose obstacles to Turkey’s PESCO participation.