Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised objections to his Danish counterpart’s possible nomination for NATO’s top job, citing lingering Muslim anger over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
In an interview with NTV television, Erdogan said he explained his objections to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen personally in a lengthy telephone conversation earlier on Friday.
“I told him about the annoyance of the public” over his possible nomination for NATO secretary-general, Erdogan said.
“My party has principles... and I definitely cannot contradict them,” he said. “I told him he can appreciate what that means.”
Erdogan said he had received calls from the leaders of Islamic countries urging Turkey, NATO’s only predominantly Muslim member, to veto Rasmussen.
“There was serious indignation in Muslim countries because of the cartoon crisis. These countries are now calling us,” he said.
Rasmussen invoked freedom of expression to defend the publication of a series of irreverant cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in September 2005, which triggered outrage among Muslims worldwide.