Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the country’s troops have left ongoing NATO war games ahead of schedule, after his name appeared in an “enemy chart.” The move comes amid tensions between the US and Turkey within the military bloc.
On Friday, the Turkish leader slammed an “incident” during NATO drills in Norway, in which Erdogan himself and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern Turkish state, were depicted in an “enemy chart.”
They used an enemy chart in Norway. In that chart, there was my name and [Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk's picture," the Turkish leader told his Justice and Development (AK) Party members, as cited by Turkish media.
Erdogan said it was decided to withdraw all 40 Turkish soldiers from a NATO drill “immediately,” adding that even the removal of those names would not change the decision.
“There can be no alliance like that," Erdogan said.
Later in the day, Norwegian media reported that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had apologized for the “offence,” saying that “the incidents were the result of an individual’s actions and do not reflect the views of NATO.” The apology was contained in a letter from Stoltenberg, which was obtained by NTB agency. The Secretary General said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing, and added that the person responsible for the offence had been “removed from the exercise.”
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