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NATO Fired Servicemen Who Depicted Ataturk, Erdogan as 'Enemies' - Reports

© AFP 2023 / BENOIT DOPPAGNE / BELGA / A Turkish flag waves in front of NATO's one
A Turkish flag waves in front of NATO's one - Sputnik International
The Turkish president has reacted to the incident that took place during NATO drills in Norway, saying, "It's not possible to have this kind of alliance."

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — NATO has fired a technician and an officer, who were responsible for placing pictures of late Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on target practice sheets during drills in Norway, according to Turkish media reports.

However, later on, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the individual was not an employee of NATO.

"I apologize for the offense that has been caused. The incidents were the result of an individual's actions and do not reflect the views of NATO. The individual in question was immediately removed from the exercise by the Joint Warfare Centre, and an investigation is underway. He was a civilian contractor seconded by Norway and not a NATO employee," Stoltenberg said in a statement, adding that the decision on any disciplinary action will be made by Norway.

The secretary general stressed that Turkey was "a valued NATO Ally, which makes important contributions to Allied security."

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 said, 'This has happened … and we are going to take out our 40 soldiers.' And I said, 'Absolutely, don't hesitate, take them out right now'" Erdogan said, adding that "it's not possible to have this kind of alliance."

The incident occurred amid NATO's multinational East Mediterranean 2017 naval drills that ended earlier today in Turkey and lasted for 10 days.

Turkey, which is a key NATO partner, joined the bloc in 1952, three years after the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty.

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