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Die Welt - Germany | Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nato must dismiss Turkish opposition to Rasmussen

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is expected to become the new Nato secretary-general. However Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to stop the appointment in protest at Rasmussen's stance during the Muhammad cartoon dispute. The conservative daily Die Welt comments: "Nato has not always stuck to its own admission standards. In admitting Portugal, Greece and Turkey, for example, strategic questions took the fore on account of the Soviet threat, and a blind eye was turned to the partially authoritarian character of those countries' regimes. Since the end of the Cold War, however, Nato can afford to be more choosey in accepting new states, and insist they adhere to its value canon. This includes the freedom of opinion and the possibility of criticising religion. It is no secret that the uproar in the Muslim world at the Danish Muhammad cartoons was fomented in the region, and that drawings were shown which were never printed. Holding Rasmussen responsible for the conflict now means allowing an anti-Enlightenment campaign to have the final say. For that reason Nato should dismiss Turkey's objections if it wants to remain true to itself."

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