Norway apologizes to Turkey over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drill incident

Casey Dawson
November 18, 2017

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has apologised after an incident which prompted Turkey to pull out of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drill in Norway.

The development comes just hours after Erdogan had announced that he had ordered 40 Turkish troops to be removed from the exercise, saying that he saw such act as offensive.

Turkey withdrew its 40 soldiers from the exercise after the incident, it added.

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.

Another incident involved a Norwegian officer of Turkish origin, who opened a fake Erdo─čan account on NATO's internal social media network and posted anti-alliance comments in the name of the president, according to the Daily Sabah.

"Turkey is a valued North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, which makes important contributions to Allied security", he said.

In an address to his ruling party's provincial leaders on Friday, Erdogan said his and Ataturk's names were placed on a "table" listing "enemies" during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drills.

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"I have been informed about offence caused in a recently concluded exercise at NATO's Joint Warfare Center (JWC) in Stavanger, Norway".

Mr Stoltenberg apologised again at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. It is now led by Major General Andrzej Reudowicz of Poland.

Norway's defence minister also apologized on Friday.

Polish Maj. Gen. Andrzej Reudowicz, the commander of the Joint Warfare Center (JWC) in Stavanger, Norway where the exercise took place, has also issued a letter of apology over the incidents, according to the anonymous North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official.

He added that the individual was removed from the exercise and an investigation was under way.

Turkish Armed Forces issued North Atlantic Treaty Organisation both verbal and written protest, said the army. According to its website, it has a staff of 250 made up of civilians from 11 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states, including Turkey.

In March, Ankara was angered after four Turkish soldiers who were on duty with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, as well as a military attache, have been granted asylum in Norway following their application after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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