Turkey Opposes US Choice for NATO Chief

Mohammed cartoon row may lead them to block Danish PM
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2009 8:23 AM CDT
Turkey Opposes US Choice for NATO Chief
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen listens to questions during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday March 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Thierry Charlier)

Among the tasks facing NATO leaders this weekend is the selection of a new secretary-general for the 28-member alliance. The leading candidate is Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, who has the support of the US and other major powers. But today Turkey opposed his candidacy, the Telegraph reports, saying that NATO can't be led by a man who refused to apologize for cartoons lampooning the prophet Mohammed.

"There are concerns in NATO that, as secretary-general, Rasmussen would face fierce protests when he visited Muslim countries," one diplomat said. The spat over Rasmussen's candidacy poses a challenge for Barack Obama, who is leading war efforts in two Muslim nations and is seeking to rebuild US ties with the Islamic world. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Dutchman who currently heads NATO, completes his term in July.
(More Anders Fogh Rasmussen stories.)

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