Turkish aide calls for investigation of NATO incident

Presidential spokesman says Turkey not considering severing ties with NATO.

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Monday an incident during a recent NATO drill where the names of the Turkish Republic’s founder and current president were used in an “enemy chart” should be investigated carefully, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking to France 24, Kalin shed some light on Turkey’s relations with NATO and the U.S. which became strained following NATO’s military exercise and a lack of information on the whereabouts and condition of Iranian-Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf respectively.

Referring to the drill incident in Norway which led Turkey to withdraw its troops, Kalin said Turkey’s participation in NATO dates back more than 50 years, adding, “this is one incident, but of course we are a strong ally in NATO and we participated in many exercises.”

Turkey withdrew its troops from NATO's Trident Javelin exercise in Norway on Friday after a civilian Norwegian official depicted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an "enemy collaborator".

A portrait of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was also shown in the "hostile leader list" during a computer-assisted exercise of the drill.

“Obviously, it is completely unacceptable to do this to any country, especially for our founding president Ataturk and our current president, and expect Turkey not to react to it. That’s not possible,” Kalin said.

"Of course, this incident has to be studied, investigated very, very carefully -- who did it, who put those pictures in there, etcetera."

He added that Turkey has received an apology, which is fine, but one has to explain how within a system like NATO -- a military alliance with such a strict disciplined system -- such a thing can happen.

Responding to a question on whether it was an accident or not, Kalin said: "Well I don’t know the details. We will see. We’ve relied on NATO’s explanations so far, and I think there will be an investigation, and we heard a couple of people have been fired. But we seek to know how such a thing can happen within NATO so such thing won’t happen again."

Kalin also said Turkey is not considering severing ties with NATO.


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