Erdoğan condemns ‘impudence’ during NATO drill
Turkey withdrew from the Trident Javelin exercise after a civilian Norwegian official depicted Erdogan as an “enemy collaborator” during a bloc exercise. A portrait of the Republic of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was also shown on a “hostile leader list” during a computer-assisted exercise.
“This impudence that targets me and the founder of our republic ... reflects the distorted point of view that we have been observing in NATO for a while,” he added.
“And now, when we try to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia, the reaction from some countries of the alliance [NATO] proved this distortedness,” he added.
Touching on the situation over the border in Syria, Erdoğan said Turkey would soon stage operations in Afrin and Manbij after completing its ongoing operation in Idlib.
“We will also save Afrin and we will deliver Manbij to its original owners. We will clear terrorist organizations out of all areas,” he said.
The Turkish military is currently monitoring 12 observation and security points in Idlib as part of the Astana Process with Iran and Russia, amid rumors that Turkey will extend the operation to Afrin and Manbij.
Turkish troops in Idlib are aiming to prevent clashes between Syrian opposition fighters and Assad regime forces.
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan also again vowed that Turkey would also clear northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountain region, the headquarters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of all “terrorists.”