Friday, April 24, 2009

NATO, the EU and Turkey

For those who missed this story, here is an excellent analysis by Thomas Landen of a dispute that marred the NATO summit earlier this month. The Turkish AKP government objected to the nomination of Danish prime minister Rasmussen to be Secretary General of NATO. The reason: he defended the freedom of expression of Danish cartoonists to depict Muhammad.

President Obama brokered a 'compromise': the Turks would take back their objection, and Rasmussen would accept a Turkish deputy and apologize to the Turks. Which Rasmussen promptly did in Ankara: “I would never myself depict any religious figure, including the prophet Muhammad, in a way that could hurt other people’s feelings. […] During my tenure as the secretary general of NATO I will pay close attention to the religious and cultural sensibilities of the different communities that populate our increasingly pluralistic and globalized world.”

This presumably satisfied Obama. French foreign minister Kouchner, however, declared that he was no longer in favor of admitting Turkey to the EU. “I was very shocked by the pressure that was brought on us,” Mr. Kouchner said. “Turkey’s evolution in, let’s say, a more religious direction, towards a less robust secularism, worries me.”

As Landen points out, "ideological Islam has replaced Marxism as the main threat to the freedoms of the West ... NATO ... should stand strong against every attempt at intimidation by ideological Islam. Instead of giving in to AKP threats it should forcefully reject them." Wouldn't it be nice if the American president understood this? (Thanks to Brussels Journal.)

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