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Türkiye welcomes Mark Rutte as NATO secretary-general, outlines expectations

Türkiye welcomes Mark Rutte as NATO secretary-general, outlines expectations Hollanda Prime Minister Rutte with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex, Ankara, Türkiye, March 22, 2022. (Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye)
By Newsroom
Jun 26, 2024 3:57 PM

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been selected as the new secretary-general of NATO, following unanimous approval by the organization’s 32 member countries. He is set to assume office on October 1, 2024.

Outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, concluding his ten-year tenure, welcomed Rutte’s appointment, stating, “I am pleased to leave NATO in capable hands.” Stoltenberg, who has led NATO since 2014 with two extensions, expressed confidence in Rutte’s ability to lead.

Türkiye’s support and expectations

Türkiye actively supported Rutte’s candidacy and conveyed congratulations upon his appointment. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted, “We congratulate Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on his unanimous appointment as NATO secretary-general. We also extend our gratitude to Secretary General Stoltenberg for his successful leadership since 2014.”

Ankara has outlined several expectations for Rutte’s tenure, foremost among them being a robust commitment to counterterrorism efforts. Türkiye expects Rutte to continue Stoltenberg’s approach, which highlighted Türkiye’s significant challenges with terrorism and emphasized allied solidarity on this critical issue.

Türkiye welcomes Mark Rutte as NATO secretary-general, outlines expectations
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Vilnius, Lithuania, March 12, 2023. (AA Photos)

Additionally, Türkiye looks to Rutte to address NATO’s internal defense industry cooperation and the removal of restrictions on arms sales among member states. Türkiye seeks Rutte’s support in advocating for removing these barriers, particularly following disagreements over Türkiye’s procurement of the Russian S-400 air defense systems and its military operations in Northern Syria.

Emphasis on NATO-EU cooperation

Türkiye stresses the importance of enhanced NATO-E.U. cooperation under Rutte’s leadership. Ankara urges adherence to the 2003 framework agreement, which outlines the E.U.’s complementary role in NATO security operations. Türkiye emphasizes the inclusion of non-E.U. NATO members like Türkiye, the United Kingdom, and Norway in E.U. security initiatives, citing their exclusion as a challenge to collective defense efforts.

Mark Rutte is expected to participate in the NATO Leaders’ Summit scheduled for July 9-11, marking his first formal engagement as Secretary General. Türkiye formally declared its support for Rutte following his visit to Istanbul in late April, where he held discussions with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last Updated:  Jun 26, 2024 4:53 PM