The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late Friday that the incident regarding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the founder of the Turkish republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were portrayed as enemies during a NATO drill in Norway was "regrettable," adding that criminal procedures against the perpetrators would be closely followed by Turkey.
"The incident is regrettable, unethical and unacceptable. The criminal procedures against the perpetrators will be followed closely. Necessary steps are being taken," the statement said.
Meanwhile, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg came together with Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar in a meeting held in Canada's Halifax, during which he personally apologized for the incident.
President Erdoğan previously announced that Turkey has withdrawn its 40 troops from a planned NATO drill in response to the "enemy chart" incident.
Following Erdoğan's remarks, NATO said that two separate incidents occurred with regard to Erdoğan and Atatürk.
Initially, a technician used a picture of Atatürk he found online to represent enemy ranks. After Turkish officers confirmed the incident, the technician was dismissed from duty.
Another incident involved a Norwegian officer of Turkish origin, who opened a fake Erdoğan account on NATO's internal social media network and posted anti-alliance comments in the name of the president. After confirming the incident with Turkish officers at naval forces command, the officer responsible for the incident was also dismissed.
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