Brussels, Nov 17 (IANS) The Secretary-General of NATO was forced to issue an apology to Turkey’s President on Friday after it was revealed that his name had been included on a list of enemies used for a military drill in Norway.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that his military chief had ordered the withdrawal of 40 troops active in the exercises when it came to light that his name had been added to an enemy poster alongside a portrait of modern Turkey’s founder, the revered Mustafa Ataturk, Efe news agency reported.
“I apologize for the offence that has been caused,” said Jens Stoltenberg, adding: “The incidents were the result of an individual’s actions and do not reflect the views of NATO.”
According to Stoltenberg, a third-party worker, not a NATO employee, was responsible for the act of including Erdogan on the list.
“Turkey is a valued NATO ally, which makes important contributions to Allied security,” he said.
Turkey is NATO’s second-largest member after the United States and plays a strategic role given its location bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Under Erdogan, Turkey’s relations with NATO’s leadership and the European Union have frayed in recent years.
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