Turkey withdrew its troops from a NATO military exercise in Norway after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the country’s founding leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were listed as “enemies,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday.
“They used an enemy chart in Norway. In that chart, there was my name and [Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk’s picture,” Erdoğan told party members in Ankara.
“They told me that they are withdrawing our 40 soldiers from there [Norway],” Erdoğan said. “I told them to do that immediately. There can be no alliance like that.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement saying, “I apologize for the offense that has been caused.”
“The individual in question was immediately removed from the exercise by the Joint Warfare Centre, and an investigation is underway. He was a civilian contractor seconded by Norway and not a NATO employee.”
“Turkey is a valued NATO ally, which makes important contributions to allied security,” the statement said.
Erdoğan said he had personally instructed the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish troops “even if those names are removed” from the chart, according to the Associated Press.