08:40 GMT18 February 2020
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    A scandal is brewing after the Turkish president's name along with that of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, appeared on an "enemy chart" during the NATO war games in Norway in mid-November.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented on a recent incident, implying that he along with the country's first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, were listed as enemies during the recent NATO Trident Javelin drills in Norway. According to him, it was targeted against the Turkish people, but not the country's leader.

    "They placed Ataturk and me on a stand with targets during NATO exercises and provoked a scandal. … This question is not personal or party related. The targets were Turkey and the Turkish people," Erdogan said in a televised address to activists of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

    On Friday, Erdogan announced his decision to withdraw 40 Turkish servicemen from the NATO drills in Norway, after his name, along with Ataturk's, appeared on an "enemy chart" during an exercise. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already offered his apologies to the Turkish president. He noted that the person who posted the material was a Norwegian civil contractor, not a NATO employee.

    Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen also apologized to Turkey over the insulting incident. The drills were held between November 8-17. The Norwegian defense minister added that Norway will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

    Turkey joined NATO in 1952, three years after the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. Turkey was admitted to the organization, even though it is not a "North Atlantic" country. Turkey has been engaged in NATO partnership mechanisms with the countries of the Black Sea and southern Caucasus regions, which are not NATO member states.


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    drills, NATO, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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