NATO chief apologizes to Erdoğan over drill incident
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg apologized to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the phone on Nov. 18 after a civilian Norwegian official depicted the Turkish leader as an “enemy collaborator” during a bloc exercise in Norway, according to a presidential source.
Turkey withdrew from the Trident Javelin exercise after the incident in Norway on Nov. 17.
A portrait of the Republic of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was also shown in a “hostile leader list” during a computer-assisted exercise.
In the phone call, Stoltenberg informed Erdoğan that an inquiry had been initiated by the commanding officer and the contracted Norwegian technician involved in the incident was terminated immediately.
The NATO chief also stressed that Turkey is an important ally for NATO and that he would take all necessary precautions to avoid a repeat of such an incident, hoping the scandal would not adversely affect relations between NATO and Turkey, the source said.
Stoltenberg had publicly apologized to Turkey over the incident on Nov. 17.