NATO's Rasmussen pledges stronger anti-terror cooperation
Touring member countries ahead of next month's NATO summit, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Ankara late last week and met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. During their talks, Rasmussen pledged to work harder to improve counter-terrorism cooperation between Turkey and the alliance's other members. It was agreed that cooperation between Turkey and NATO would be brought to the highest level in this respect. The extension of Turkey's mission in Kabul as part of international peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan was also discussed. Per a request by NATO in light of Turkish troops' successful performance and rapport with the Afghan people, Turkey has agreed to extend by one year its command of the Kabul Regional Command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In return for the extension, Turkey has reportedly received assurances from NATO that it will no longer be asked to send combat troops to Afghanistan. Turkey says Turkish troops taking on a combat mission in Afghanistan would undermine its close relationship and cooperation with the Afghan people and be counter-productive. Turkey and Afghanistan have enjoyed very friendly relations since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923.