Erdogan says Turkey pulls troops out of NATO train, Stoltenberg apologizes


Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference after the talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Pavel Golovkin/Pool
President Erdogan attends a information convention after the talks with
Russia’s President Putin in Sochi

Thomson Reuters

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is pulling 40 troopers out of a NATO
train in Norway, President Tayyip Erdogan stated on Friday,
after his title was included in a listing of enemies on a poster at
the drill, an incident that drew an apology from NATO Secretary
General Jens Stoltenberg.

Turkey has the second-largest military within the alliance and borders
with Syria, Iraq and Iran, giving it nice strategic significance
for NATO. But the connection has develop into fractious as Ankara
drifts away from the alliance and the European Union, alarming
the West.

Erdogan stated an “enemy poster”, that includes his title on one aspect
and an image of contemporary Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
on the opposite, was unfurled on the coaching train in Norway,
prompting a choice by Turkey’s army chief and European
Union minister to drag the troops out.

“They stated they’d determined to drag our troops out and can do
so, so we informed them to not cease and go forward … take our 40
troopers out of there,” Erdogan informed members of his ruling AK
Party in Ankara.

Commenting on the incident at NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in
Stavanger, Norway, Stoltenberg stated: “I apologize for the offense
that has been triggered.”

“The incidents had been the results of a person’s actions and do
not replicate the views of NATO,” he stated in a written badertion.

The particular person concerned, a civilian contractor seconded by Norway
and never a NATO worker, was instantly faraway from the
train, Stoltenberg stated. It can be as much as the Norwegian
authorities to resolve on any disciplinary motion, he stated.

“Turkey is a valued NATO Ally, which makes vital
contributions to Allied safety, Stoltenberg added.

The Norwegian ministry of protection and the joint battle heart
command each declined to remark.

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels and Terje
Solsvik in Oslo; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren
Butler, Larry King)

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