Turkey welcomes understanding of its concerns during NATO summit

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Turkey welcomes understanding of its concerns during  NATO summit
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Nisan 05, 2009 12:13

ISTANBUL - Turkey welcomed the understanding that was shown to its concerns during the nomination of Danish prime minister as the next head of NATO, President Abdullah Gul said late on Saturday. (UPDATED)

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NATO leaders agreed to appoint Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the new head of the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections on Saturday.


Turkey had opposed Rasmussen's bid for the top NATO post, saying the Dane's unwillingness to suspend broadcasts from a Denmark-based Roj TV station linked to the terror organization PKK, and his stance during the 2006 crisis over a Danish newspapers publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, cast doubts over his ability to lead the alliance.


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The consensus process could sometimes be long and troubled, Gul said at a press conference after the summit, adding that the most important element in a defense cooperation organization was conformity.


Gul also thanked U.S. President Barack Obama for his contributions to the issue and wished success to the Danish premier.


According to media reports, Turkey had received "guarantees" from Obama that one of Rasmussen's deputies would be a Turk and that Turkish commanders would be present at the alliance's command. Rasmussen will also apologize to Muslim world for cartoon crisis and Roj TV will be closed, Hurriyet daily reported on Sunday.


Turkey prepared to veto


Gul also said that if Turkey was not sufficiently convinced with the assurances it was given, then it would not hesitate to use its right (of veto), when he was asked about the response to concerns raised.


In response to a question regarding the statements of EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, Gul said that it was a NATO meeting, not an EU meeting, and the goals and targets of NATO were different, and therefore decisions made in the EU did not influence NATO, adding that the statements of Rehn were unpleasant.

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Rehn had warned that Turkey's opposition to the NATO chief nomination process would harm Turkey's European Union entry bid. "Turkey is making a mistake. It does not look good from a European perspective," he had said.


Gul also expressed his pleasure over Albania and Croatia joining NATO, adding that Turkey had always supported the open-door policy, and his hopes that Macedonia would also join the alliance.


Danish PM tenders resignation


Rasmussen, leader of a centre-right coalition since 2001, arrived Sunday at Denmark’s royal palace to tender his resignation, a day after he was named NATO’s next secretary general, Danish television reported.


Just afterwards, Finance Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen -- no relation -- held a brief meeting with the queen to confirm his appointment.


"It’s a big responsibility that I’m taking on, and I know some think it’s too big for me. To those people I want to say that I’m going to work hard ... to lead Denmark through the current financial crisis," he told reporters.


The new prime minister, 44, is Denmark’s youngest-ever head of government.



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