Ankara denies Vienna's claim it agreed not to object to Austrian nominees
Ankara yesterday vehemently denied Vienna's claim that Turkey broke its promise to not object to Austria's candidate for secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), namely former Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik. Turkey has seen a backlash from the Austrian media and public to its veto of Plassnik. Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on Monday called Turkey's veto "completely incomprehensible and baseless." Spindelegger also said that when Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Austria last month, they made an agreement that the two countries would not block each other's candidates for positions in international organizations. Ankara, however, denied the claim. The issue came up last month during a reception hosted by Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Gul's honor, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal said. The two presidents discussed the issue briefly, he said. "During the meeting, the president didn't make any commitment for Turkey not to object to the appointment of former Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik as OSCE secretary-general; on the contrary, he stressed the strong position of our secretary-general candidate, Ersin Ercin," Unal explained. "We regret that Turkey's well-intentioned efforts for the smooth functioning of the appointment process for secretary-general are being exploited and that the issue is being presented this way to the public."