TURKEY'S BAZAAR MERCHANT TACTICS AT THE NATO SUMMIT: A COMMENT
"Turkey holds out against Danish Nato chief",
By James Blitz in London and Delphine Strauss in Ankara
Nato heads of government will try this week to heal a rift with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, over his government’s opposition to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish premier, becoming the next secretary-general of the 26-member security alliance.
Nato leaders had been hoping that Mr Rasmussen could be declared formally as the successor to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at this weekend’s alliance summit in Strasbourg and Kehl but that may now have to be delayed.
European diplomats, however, say that while a consensus has emerged within Nato that Mr Rasmussen is frontrunner for the post, Turkey has expressed objections because of the row in 2006 over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed printed in a Danish newspaper.
Turkey complains that Mr Rasmussen refused to apologise for the cartoons, which sparked riots and attacks on Danish embassies in several Muslim states. Some western governments defended their publication in the name of freedom of expression.
Turkey believes the cartoons row would leave Mr Rasmussen ill-placed to lead Nato when its biggest challenges are in the Muslim world. It would prefer a non-European Union candidate with more Atlanticist instincts, such as Peter MacKay, Canada’s defence minister, or Radoslaw Sikorski, Polish foreign minister.
A western diplomat said on Monday that Nato leaders would probably seek to talk to Mr Erdogan in the next few days about the strength of Turkey’s objections.
“There will be an opportunity for heads of government to speak directly with Erdogan this week,” the diplomat said. “There will be discussions with him on the margins of the G20 in London and the Nato summit itself. But we are not wholly convinced that Turkey will be compliant.”
In Brussels, a Nato diplomat acknowledged that Turkey’s objection was becoming a difficult issue for the alliance because the appointment of a secretary-general must be agreed unanimously.
“Reports about Turkey’s objections are worrying people,” said this diplomat. “What alliance governments want to know is whether Turkey is raising fundamental objections which they will die in a ditch over; or whether this is a bargaining chip aimed at getting concessions on issues like the timing of Turkey’s accession to the EU.”
Mr Erdogan said in a televised interview that he had spoken to Mr Rasmussen to underline his concerns, adding that Turkey was upset that Denmark allowed Roj TV, a Kurdish channel it says is linked to the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), to broadcast from its territory.
While Turkey is unlikely to veto the appointment outright, it could seek support from more powerful allies. 30 March 2009 in www.ft.com
"Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely by carrying off themselves off. Their Zaptiehs, and their Mudirs, their Bimbashi and Yuzbachis, their Kaimakans and their Pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall I hope clear out of the provinces they have desolated and profaned".
William Ewart Gladstone, in The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East. 1878.
Apropos the Turks, and, the related question of 'the Turks in Europe', 'the People's William', was surely in the right. Both in 1878 and today. The Turkish government, whatever its relative advances of late, and, notwithstanding the fact that it is far and away better than any of its fellow Muslim regimes in the Near and Middle East, was, is not and never will European. They are not Christian, have not the intrinsic & historical ties that bind together the peoples of Europe in any way whatsoever. To pretend otherwise is merely myopia & ignorance of the first degree. That fact that they are attempting to blackmail their fellow powers in NATO over the Rasmussen nomination, is merely of a piece. That fact of the matter is of course, that Rasmussen is to be commended over his stance in the Danish cartoon affair. The fact that such an innocuous business resulted in riots and the murder of a few innocents just goes to show how barbaric and primitive are the followers of the so-called 'prophet'. The sooner that Turkey is put in its place diplomatically the better for all concerned. Both themselves and the peoples of Europe.