Turkey approves Rasmussen as next NATO head after Obama steps in
Turkey approved the nomination of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the next head of NATO, after U.S. President Barack Obama has answered Ankara's objections, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters Saturday. (UPDATED)
NATO leaders agreed unanimously to appoint Rasmussen as the new head of the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections.
"You know that there has been discussion over the past 36 hours, but the fact that we are standing here next to each other means a solution has been found also for the concerns expressed by Turkey, and we all very much agree and are unanimous," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a joint news conference with Rasmussen.
Turkey had opposed Rasmussen's bid for the top NATO post, saying the Dane's unwillingness to suspend broadcasts from a Denmark-based 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.
"I am deeply honored to be appointed as the next secretary-general of NATO and I will do my utmost to live up to the confidence shown to me by my colleagues," said Rasmussen, who will replace Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Aug. 1.