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Danish PM Confirms Bid for Top NATO Job

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has confirmed his candidacy for NATO secretary general, despite objections from part of Turkey's leadership.

Mr. Rasmussen told party members Friday he will seek the post being vacated by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, whose term ends in July.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed his opposition to Mr. Rasmussen's nomination.

Speaking in London, he questioned whether the Danish leader can contribute to peace and criticized Mr. Rasmussen for not closing a television station in Denmark with links to Kurdish rebels fighting in Turkey. He also criticized Mr. Rasmussen's response to Muslim outrage over the 2006 publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Mr. Rasmussen an excellent candidate.

Mr. Erdogan also criticized Kurdish aspirations for a separate state across its border in Iraq. He argued that could prompt other groups from creating their own states. The Turkish leader said the divisions in Iraq could lead to civil war.

Turkey has been battling Kurdish militants seeking autonomy in Turkey for decades, and says some of the rebels are based in Iraq.

Turkish media is criticizing what they call backtracking by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on his recent call to Kurdish rebels in Iraq to disarm.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul last week said his country will not block Mr. Rasmussen's approval.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.