Is it time for Mark Rutte as NATO Secretary General?


Mark Rutte, Dutch politician who was born in 1967, is popular with its possible new position, the Nato Secretary General. Rutte’s name was trending for NATO’s Secretary General role since he left VVD’s leadership (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy). His candidacy has gained significant support from NATO member countries, positioning him as the top person for the prestigious role of NATO.

2 days ago, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas sent a tweet on her official X account.

She was an unofficial candidate for NATO’s top job, however, she stated that Estonia can back Mark Rutte for NATO’s Secretary General.

Her reasons are a strong NATO, being clear-eyed on Russia, boosting deterrence and defense spending, Ukraine’s membership and geographic balance.

As Rutte seems as the top candidate for Secretary General of NATO, in my analysis, I’ll discuss all the reasons the Estonian PM stated.

A strong NATO

After the Russia-Ukraine War emerged in Eastern Europe in February 2022, poles’ importance has been increased. Countries like Russia, China, United States, NATO, Germany and Türkiye were focused due to their effects on world politics and global security.

As I have stated in my articles on EUROPolitika, there is an expected NATO-Russia conflict in near future. Therefore, NATO’s significance has been comprehended by NATO member countries. It is not impossible to state that leaders of NATO member countries are interested in a stronger NATO, they are looking for a strong political actor for the NATO Secretary General role.

Clear eyed on Russia

In accordance with being a strong leader, NATO’s Secretary General should meet expectations of having unclouded vision on Russia. Especially, if there will be days that European countries may be threatened, NATO’s significance will reflect itself. Therefore, being “clear eyed” on Russia is one of the expected feature for a NATO’s top role.

Boosting deterrence

As we can comprehend from the tweet sent by Kaja Kallas, preventing Russia’s effect on NATO seems like the prioritized task of NATO, as it has been since the founding day, but it is a characteristic that is looking for in a NATO leader.

Defence spending

NATO countries have to spend a determined budget on their defence, as stated in NATO guideline, it seems like NATO’s new leader will be rough on following this guideline.

Ukraine’s membership

Seeing Ukraine as NATO and European Union after the war will not be a surprise, to be honest. The European Union will have a significant job on recovering Ukraine, and NATO will take on a task of defending Ukraine. In my opinion, these two processes will work at the same time. So, Rutte’s experience in the European Union will be enchanted by this process, as well as being a NATO member country.

Geographic balance

It is also related to preventing Russia’s effect on NATO countries or the NATO sphere itself. Geographic balance also includes Israel-Palestine Conflict, Middle East, China, India and South America. Therefore, the geographic balance and diplomacy will be connected to each other in NATO’s top role.

Looking from Türkiye’s perspective

Even though there are opposing statements, Türkiye is important for NATO, and NATO is important for Türkiye. If remembered, there was an ongoing argument between France’s president Macron and Türkiye’s president Erdoğan.

Macron’s statement was about the United States withdrawal of its troops from Syria without negotiating with NATO, and Turkey, which seems like is at odds with France’s interests by Operation Peace Spring (Barış Pınarı Harekâtı). On that statement, Macron said that “NATO alliance is experiencing a brain death”. Turkish president Erdoğan replied by saying “You should check whether you are brain dead first.”

However, both sides pointed out that NATO is beneficial and this alliance should continue.

But, the reason behind this argument was how Türkiye is compatible with NATO by always looking for and following any kind of joint policy, especially these days where there has been ongoing war beyond the Black Sea.

However, there is still no sign of supporting Rutte for the NATO Secretary General role from Türkiye and Hungary. Türkiye and Hungary will have some conditions on supporting, such as getting support on counter terrorism for Türkiye. Going back, Rutte stated that “The long-term aim is to bring Hungary to its knees on this issue (Anti-LGBT law on Hungary)”. Therefore, getting support from Hungary will be difficult for Mark Rutte.

On March 31, 2024, when votes on municipality elections were counting in Türkiye, Mark Rutte and Erdoğan talked on phone. Erdoğan stated his expectations as “serving on security and interests of NATO member countries in challenges, strengthening the union of NATO, paying attention to NATO’s initial role, stating convincing promises on NATO’s fundamental values and applicable roles and paying attention to member countries which are not members of the European Union”.

So, Türkiye will decide on supporting Rutte or not, as he would meet these expectations.

While Rutte appears to be the top candidate for the NATO Secretary General role, it’s important to note that all NATO members’ acceptance is required for the appointment. Some countries, such as Turkey and Hungary, have yet to express their support. However, Rutte’s experience and strong connections position him well for this critical leadership role.


Lau, S. (2024, March 5). Hungary opposes Mark Rutte’s bid to run NATO. POLITICO.

Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan’ın Telefon Diplomasisi. TRT Haber. (2024, March 31).

“Check your brain death,” Erdogan on Macron’s NATO remarks. Anadolu Ajansı. (n.d.).

Macron “beyin ölümü” ithamından Döndü: NATO’ya inanıyorum. euronews. (n.d.).

Photos credit:

Previous Post

Avrupa Birliği, yoksul üye ülkeleri fonlamada radikal bir değişiklik yapıyor

Next Post

Savunma şefi Alman ordusunu savaşa hazırlanmak için yeniliyor

Related Posts