Turkey extends support to new NATO chief after bicker
www.chinaview.cn 2009-08-28 22:57:23   Print

    ANKARA, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday Turkey would always support the secretary general of NATO and would continue its contribution to the alliance, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

    Turkey had no tension with NATO or Denmark and Turkey has always seen new NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a close friend, said Davutoglu at a joint press conference with visiting Rasmussen in Ankara.

    As a NATO member, Turkey had objected to Rasmussen's appointment as NATO's secretary-general during the nomination process. Rasmussen aroused concerns in the Muslim world in 2005 by backing the publication of cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammadin the Danish press in the name of press freedom as then prime minister of Denmark.

    Turkey dropped its objections in April after being assured that Rasmussen would work for reconciliation with the Muslim world and appoint a Turk as his deputy. Rasmussen officially took office early this month.

    Davutoglu said relations between Turkey and the NATO had a very sound basis and would further develop with Rasmussen undertaking his term in office.

    He told the press that Turkey expected all member states of NATO to display a determined stance against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey lists as a terrorist organization.

    In 2005, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a joint press conference with Rasmussen during a visit to Denmark after Danish authorities ignored his request to remove a reporter from PKK mouthpiece Roj TV from the press conference hall.

    Speaking of Roj TV's broadcast from Denmark, Rasmussen told Friday's press conference that the fight against terrorism was a priority for both him and the Danish government, according to the Anatolia report.

    If evidences show Roj TV was broadcasting against Danish laws and these evidences are presented to the Danish government, required procedures would be implemented, said Rasmussen. He added investigations pursued by Danish and Turkish authorities about the connection between Roj TV and PKK were very important.

    At the press conference, Rasmussen said Turkey had always been an important strategic partner of NATO and thanked Turkey's support for him and its contributions in Afghanistan.

    There are currently 795 Turkish soldiers on duty in Afghanistan and the figure would increase to 1,600 as Turkey takes over the regional command in Kabul in November 2009, said Davutoglu.

    There was currently no demand for additional Turkish troops in the region, he added.

    Rasmussen called on all NATO member states, including Turkey, to contribute to the mission to train Afghan security forces.

    He said the capacity of Afghan security forces should be increased and that the international community should reserve more resources for the development of the Afghan society.

    Altogether 3,500 schools have been built in Afghanistan so far, which have enrolled 7 million children including 2 million girls, while 85 percent of Afghans could now directly use health services, compared with 6 percent in the past, he was quoted as saying.

    On Thursday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul also extended Turkey's support to Rasmussen in his mission.

    Rasmussen arrived in Turkey on Thursday for a two-day visit to discuss the alliance and boost relations with the Muslim world.

Editor: Yan
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