Despite Cartoon Flap, Danish PM to Head NATO

Turkey shoots down Danish candidate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2009 10:08 AM CDT
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to media after a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street in London, in this Wednesday, Feb.18, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)
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(Newser) – NATO named Anders Fogh Rasmussen as its new secretary-general today, overcoming a contentious stalemate with Turkey, the AP reports. Turkey had strongly opposed the Danish prime minister because he’d supported the newspapers that printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. Turkey argued that Rasmussen’s selection wouldn’t play well in critical Muslim nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan.

That had appeared likely to scuttle his candidacy, because all 28 nations must agree on the civilian leader. But after intense negotiations today, Turkey switched course. “A solution has been found for the concerns expressed by Turkey,” said the outgoing secretary-general. “We are unanimous in this.” The secretary-general is in charge of day-to-day operations in the alliance’s headquarters, and his selection rarely attracts such scrutiny.