European Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış, commenting on recent suggestions that a Turk could become the next secretary-general of NATO, has stated that President Abdullah Gül would be the best choice for the top alliance job, provided that Gül would be willing to take it.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday after talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, Bağış spoke in dismissive terms about a possible candidacy of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the same post. “I wish Sarkozy a nice holiday. I think he is busy fishing somewhere in the Mediterranean now,” Bağış said of the former French leader.
“NATO could not find anyone better than Gül as secretary-general I have no doubt, but I don’t know whether he would accept such a post. Either way, we should respect his decision,” Bağış stated.
Furthermore, Gül, attending a NATO summit held earlier this week in Chicago, maintained that Turks could undertake more important posts in NATO, given that the Turkish army is the second largest within the alliance after the US. Gül, however, stated there have been no talks on a specific Turkish official becoming a candidate for the top NATO post.
The Atlantic Council, an influential non-partisan US think tank released a report on May 14, suggesting that a Turkish NATO secretary-general could be elected within the next 10 years, given Turkey’s exemplary contribution in its 60-year membership in the organization.