Rassmussen appoints the envoy as top aide .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - NATO’s new chief has appointed the Danish envoy to Turkey, to the top position of director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General. Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s office announced yesterday that Ambassador Jasper Vahr would take the post, what some observers say is a half-hearted fulfillment of alleged promises that Turkish representatives would fill top spots in the alliance in exchange for Turkey withholding its veto on his election.

Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister, was elected NATO secretary-general after tense debates. Turkey strongly opposed him due to his handling the 2006 cartoon crisis and his resistance to stop the broadcast of Roj TV. Though never confirmed, it has been said that Turkey removed its veto only after securing the promise of some top seats at NATO’s headquarters.

Rasmussen may have fulfilled part of that promise with his new appointment of a diplomat from Turkey, but a Danish one instead of a Turkish diplomat. "I have appointed Jesper Vahr, because he has substantial experience and a broad knowledge of NATO as a result of his previous work within the organization," said Rasmussen in his statement.

Vahr, who was appointed to Turkey in 2007, will take up his position on Aug. 1 when Rasmussen assumes office as secretary general.