Erdogan is not satisfied with apology

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Erdogan is not satisfied with apology from Norway and NATO

The incident with the NATO exercise in Stavanger has caused a diplomatic crisis between Norway and Turkey, expert on Turkish affairs at the University of Oslo, Einar Wigen explains. Erdogan is not satisfied with the apologies made by Norway and NATO.


– Norway and NATO must prepare to kow-tow some more before Erdogan is satisfied, says Wigen to NTB.

Friday it was announced that Turkey recalled 40 soldiers from the NATO exercise ‘Trident Javeli’n because the country’s founder; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk along with the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were portrayed as being the enemy. To Scandinavians it is a very foreign notion that you cannot raise questions about King, Country, Religion et cetera, but as many of you are aware, in Turkey it is a criminal offense to talk bad about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which therefore makes for an even more inflamed situation.

Not satisfied

The Secretary General of NATO, and former Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, and Norwegian Minister of Defense, Frank Bakke-Jensen (Conservatives), both promptly apologized for the incident. This is however not sufficient for Erdogan:

– This can not be solved with a simple apology, the Turkish president stated on a live broadcast on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The same message was issued by the Turkish opposition leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kiliçdaroglui.

This is not an issue that can be avoided with an ordinary apology, Daily Sabah reported from a party meeting in Ankara on Saturday.

– No one are allowed to offend Turkey’s current leadership and its history. We strongly condemn this, he said.


– We can never underestimate Erdogan’s will and ability to use issues like this tactically. He will exploit this for his own purposes, but it remains to be seen what his ultimate demands will be, says Wigen.

He describes the actions during the NATO exercise as being “extremely stupid and ignorant”.

– This is obviously extremely insulting. Turkey is uncertain as to whether NATO really are adamant to Article 5 regarding them, that is, the assurance of certain assistance in the event of an attack. Turkey feels they are not completely understood and taken care of by their allies, and this supports their perception, he says.

According to Erdogan, both his own and Ataturk’s name was named as enemies at the NATO exercise. Atatürk was the founder of modern day Turkey in 1923. Erdogan says that he personally announced that the Turkish soldiers shoulld be retracted immediately, “even if their names were erased from the blackboard”.

– During the NATO exercise, it was a lack of respect. The mistake was made not by fools, but by disrespectful people, the Turkish president stated according to  Reuters.

Silence from the Department of Foreign Affairs (UD)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not wish to comment on Erdogan’s statements on Saturday, but pointed to the apology that the Minister of Defense made on behalf of the Norwegian Government on Saturday. Norway’s ambassador to Turkey, Vegard Ellefsen, also would not comment to NTB on Saturday. NTB has also made inquiries to the Turkish embassy in Norway.

There is not made any official protest made from Turkey at present.

Minister of Defense, Frank Bakke-Jensen, on Friday announced that the Norwegian who was behind the exercise was an external consultant employed to script the war game.

Contract terminated

Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, on Friday stated that it is up to the Norwegian authorities to decide on any disciplinary reactions.

– We will conduct a thorough examination of what has happened in this specific matter, and then perform the necessary actions based on the conclusions of the investigation, Bakke-Jensen stated on Friday. He emphasizes that the message in no way has any relation to how Norway views Turkey or the Turkish.

– Turkey is an pivotal ally in NATO, and which we want to maintain a good relationship to, he stresses.

The Ministry of Defense on Saturday informs NTB that the person responsible for the incident has been dismissed from the exercise and that the contractual relationship with the Armed Forces had been terminated.

It most also not be forgotten that Erdogan is on the campaign trail to cement his power.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today