Muslims ask Turkey to veto Danish Prime Minister NATO: prime minister
Muslim countries have asked Turkey to veto Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the next NATO chief, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said.
"A very serious reaction emerged in countries with Muslim populations during the cartoon crisis," Erdogan told NTV broadcaster late on Friday.
The current NATO secretary general, Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, steps down on July 31 and his successor is expected to be named at a NATO summit on April 3 and 4, reported World bulletin.
Erdogan said he talked to Rasmussen by telephone on Friday and told him the Turkish people were upset by the Danish prime minister's position during a row in 2006 over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad printed as an extrem example of anti-Islamism in a Danish newspaper.
Rasmussen refused to apologise for the cartoons, which sparked riots and attacks on Danish embassies in several Muslim states. Some Danish politicians defended the publication of the cartoons under the the name of freedom of expression.
Of Rasmussen's appointment, he said "now these countries have started to call us and tell us not to allow it."
Erdogan, who is leader of ruling AK Party, did not say directly he would veto Rasmussen as NATO party chief, an appointment made by consensus of NATO members.
But he said, "I am also a political party leader and I certainly should not contradict with my party's principles. I told him he can appreciate what that means."
He also said Turkey was upset Denmark had allowed a pro-PKK television station to broadcast from Denmark.
Turkey is concerned that at a time when NATO faces rising demands in Afghanistan, a secretary general with such an approach could affect the alliance's relationship with the Muslim world.