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Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Erdogan and Ataturk depicted as enemies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise

Erdogan and Ataturk depicted as enemies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise

Following Erdogan's remarks, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation clarified that two separate incidents occurred.

Reports said that an image of the "enemy" in the mock exercise was actually a photo of modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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.

"They told me that they are withdrawing our 40 soldiers from" the exercise, Erdogan said.

The individual who posted the material was described as a Norwegian civil contractor seconded by Norway, and not a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation employee.

The Turkish leader said of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance: "There can be no such pact, no such alliance", the New York Times reported.

Stoltenberg added that Turkey is a "valued NATO Ally, which makes important contributions to Allied security".

"There can be no such unity, no such alliance", he said in an address to his ruling party's provincial leaders.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has apologised to Turkey after the country's leaders were allegedly depicted as "enemies" in a joint military exercise.

The Joint Warfare Center, which conducts the drills, is a multinational North Atlantic Treaty Organisation unit some 200 kilometers southwest of Oslo.

Stoltenberg conveyed apologies to Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar at the ongoing International Security Forum in Canada, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official said. It is now led by Major General Andrzej Reudowicz of Poland.

The Turkish embassy in Oslo would ask for explanation from the Norwegian authorities, a Turkish official told Xinhua.

"During a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise at the Joint Warfare Center (JWC) in Stavanger, an exercise message was published on the internal exercise network", Xinhua news agency quoted the minister as saying in a written statement on Friday.

But Mr Bakke-Jensen said the Norwegian involved was an external contractor hired for the exercise, and he had been removed from his role.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, and take the appropriate measures based on the conclusions", Bakke-Jensen stressed.

The JWC is a multinational North Atlantic Treaty Organisation unit based in Stavanger, Oslo. According to its website, it has a staff of 250 made up of civilians from 11 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states, including Turkey.

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