Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Norway apologizes to Turkey over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drill incident

Norway apologizes to Turkey over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drill incident

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country had made a decision to withdraw its soldiers from the NATO's Trident Javelin exercise in Norway after the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and himself were included in a list of "enemies".

In a televised speech, Erdogan said that Akar and EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik had told him about the incident and taken the decision to cancel.

"I told them to do that immediately".

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey needed to clear the Afrin region of northwest Syria of Kurdish YPG militia fighters, who have been in the forefront of the battle there against Islamic State insurgents.

Under Erdogan, Turkey's relations with NATO's leadership and the European Union have frayed in recent years.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday said he was aware of the incident and had removed the person responsible. I apologize for the offense.

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Mr Erdogan said Turkey withdrew 40 of its soldiers participating in the drills at Nato's Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway, in protest at the incident and criticised the alliance. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been in contact with the Norwegian authorities on this issue.

He said the incident was the result of an "individual's actions" and did not reflect the views of the alliance.

According to Stoltenberg, a third-party worker, not a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation employee, was responsible for the act of including Erdogan on the list. It will be for the Norwegian authorities to decide on any disciplinary action.

"Turkey is a valued NATO Ally, which makes important contributions to Allied security".

"During a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise at the Joint Warfare Center (JWC) in Stavanger, an exercise message was published on the internal exercise network", Xinhua news agency quoted the minister as saying in a written statement on Friday.

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