Turkey asks for further probe into NATO drill incident

Turkey asks for further probe into NATO drill incident

Turkey asks for further probe into NATO drill incident

Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik on Nov. 19 called for investigating the chain of command involved in a NATO drill in Norway during which the names of the Turkish president and founder appeared on an “enemy list.”

Turkey withdrew from the Trident Javelin exercise in Norway on Nov. 17 after a civilian Norwegian official depicted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an “enemy collaborator.”

The Norwegian national was removed from the exercise following the incident, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen apologizing to Turkey.

Speaking at the 9th annual Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Çelik said the commander under whom the Norwegian civilian worked must also be investigated.

“Is there no chain of command? Does he [the civilian contracted person] not have a commander?” Çelik said, underlining that the command chain should be investigated and necessary steps should be taken.

He added that NATO - an alliance that aims to ensure the security of its member states- should ensure the security of its drills.

Turkey would continue to monitor the investigation of the incident and would like to ensure that such incidents do not happen ever again, he said.

He said the incident was similar to methods used by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), accused of orchestrating last year’s failed coup in Turkey.

“They [FETÖ] are using all their assets to harm Turkey, to create some negative developments in Turkey. This is very similar to the method they use,” he added.

About the EU decision to cut 150 billion euros ($177 billion) of pre-accession fund for Turkey, he said: “It does not mean anything financially to Turkey.”

The EU was scheduled to provide 4.5 billion euros ($5.31 billion) to Turkey between 2014 and 2020 as part of its support to the country in its pre-membership phase.

“You envisage providing this fund to Turkey on the one hand, and then exhibiting a serious lack of vision by cutting the fund on the other hand,” the EU minister said.

“While the EU expresses solidarity with Turkey on migrant and counter-terrorism issues, we don’t see a similar solidarity for strengthening democracy and the rule of law in Turkey,” he said.

He added that the bloc withdrew some defense systems from Turkey and did not show solidarity with the country following the failed coup attempt last year.

The EU and Turkey started membership negotiations in 2005, but the talks entered into a stalemate due to the Cyprus issue and the opposition of several EU governments to Ankara’s full membership.

Ankara’s relations with several EU member states, including Germany, suffered further setbacks in recent months, as Turkish leaders slammed their counterparts for not showing solidarity with Ankara over the failed coup attempt and providing support to groups hostile to Turkey.