NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg apologized to Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar in a meeting held in Canada's Halifax over the "enemy chart" incident, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the founder of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were insulted, military sources said late Friday.
"Mr. Stoltenberg also asked Commander Akar to convey his apologies to President Erdoğan," the statement said, adding that an investigation was launched by Norwegian authorities regarding the incidents.
According to the statement, Akar reiterated in the meeting that the investigation should be "extensive," adding that those who try to exploit NATO for their own agendas should not be allowed to harm cooperation among NATO allies.
Earlier on Friday, President Erdoğan announced that Turkey has withdrawn its 40 troops from a planned NATO drill after his name and the picture of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were used in an "enemy chart" during the drill.
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.