Diriöz set to take office as deputy NATO sec'y-general


Senior Turkish diplomat Huseyin Dirioz, who was elected a deputy secretary-general to NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen in July with the approval of all members of the security alliance, is set to take office tomorrow. Dirioz, previously chief foreign policy adviser to President Abdullah Gul, will be responsible for defense policy and planning, one of NATO's most important areas. Dirioz will be the second Turkish diplomat to fill the key NATO post, following Mehmet Nime Ozdas, who served as deputy undersecretary for scientific affairs in 1973-1979. At NATO's summit this April, Turkey agreed to Rasmussen taking NATO's helm so long as a Turk was appointed deputy secretary-general. Turkey initially opposed choosing Rasmussen as NATO head due to his stance on the Mohammed cartoon crisis, but after receiving assurances about Rasmussen's policies, it greenlighted his appointment. A fair and equitable distribution of key NATO posts among allied countries was one aspect of NATO reform stressed by Turkey. Dirioz told reporters his appointment was a concrete step addressing Turkey's concerns in this context which would strengthen Turkey's contributions to NATO. Stressing that the diversity of risks and threats in the 21st century has disproved those who argue NATO is no longer needed, Dirioz said, "As seen in the cases of Kosovo, Afghanistan and Somali, NATO conducts operations with such various aspects as ensuring peace, reconstruction and peacekeeping in regions outside its area of activity."