Turkey agrees to Rasmussen’s appointment as new NATO secretary-general

ANKARA, Turkey – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday (April 4th) that Turkey approved the appointment of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO’s new secretary-general after US President Barack Obama addressed Ankara’s concerns.

The NATO session at which members were to elect Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s successor first failed due to Erdogan’s objection to Rasmussen’s nomination. Erdogan was unhappy with the Danish politician’s image among Muslims, dating back to 2005, when a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad that prompted a wave of protests in the Muslim world. Rasmussen defended the publication, describing it as an example of free speech.

Erdogan said on Saturday that Ankara received “guarantees” from Obama that one of Rasmussen’s deputies will be Turkish and that Turkish military commanders will be included in the Alliance’s command.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people gathered in the Asian part of Istanbul on Saturday to protest Obama’s impending visit to Turkey this week. Leftist groups organised the rally.

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