Norway apologizes to Turkey over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drill incident

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Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also issued an apology, calling Turkey a valued member of the military alliance.

"The incidents were the result of an individual's actions and do not reflect the views of NATO", Stoltenberg said.

President Erdogan says move comes after his name, picture of Ataturk used in "enemy chart" during drill.

"Such a state cannot be an ally of Turkey", the Turkish president said. Turkish Republic founder Kemal Ataturk was also named as an "enemy" in the same briefing, prompting apologies from both Norway and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Reports said that an image of the "enemy" in the mock exercise was actually a photo of modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. "These are the targets", Erdogan said in a speech to the ruling Justice and Development Party's meeting in Ankara.

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

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Following Erdogan's remarks, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation clarified that two separate incidents occurred. "In that chart, there was my name and [Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk's picture".

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.

During the computer-assisted exercise, a Norwegian official created a dummy military chat account under the president's name, and posted a fake chat showing Erdogan as collaborating with an enemy, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official, who asked not to be named due to the nature of the incident, told Anadolu Agency. It was not clear what drill Erdogan was referring to and there was no immediate comment from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen apologized for the incident.

In March, the Norwegian government caused fury in Turkey by granting political asylum to five Turkish officers based in Norway who had refused to return home after the July failed 2016 coup attempt.

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