President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the disrespectful behaviour of NATO cannot be covered over with a simple apology after his name, along with the name of Turkey's founding president, was included in an enemy list during a training exercise.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday batted back an apology from the NATO military alliance after his name, as well as the name of the founding president of Turkey, appeared on an "enemy poster" at a drill in Norway.
The incidents took place during NATO's "Trident Javelin" exercise in the southern Norwegian city of Stavanger aimed at increasing coordination between the allies at headquarters level, which wound up on Friday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen have apologised to Turkey over the incident.
But Erdogan on Saturday said such disrespectful behaviour could not be so easily forgiven.
"You have seen the disrespectful behaviour at the NATO drill yesterday. There are some mistakes that are done not by fools but only by base people," Erdogan said in an event in northeastern Rize.
"This matter cannot be covered over with a simple apology," he said.
As Turkey is increasing its power, the intensity of attacks against the country is also increasing, the president added.
"I understand this impudence that targets me and founder of our republic Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a reflection of a distorted point of view that we observe in NATO for a while," the president added.
Support from opposition
Turkey's main opposition party leader earlier on Saturday also said that the incident cannot be just avoided with an apology.
Speaking at an event in Ankara on Saturday, the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said they cannot accept the “insult” towards Turkey's history and current executives.
He said they expect a satisfactory statement from the NATO officials regarding the incident.
"It is not a topic that can be avoided with an ordinary 'we apologise' thing," Kilicdaroglu said, adding: "Nobody can insult Turkey's current executives and history. We strongly condemn this.”
Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey was pulling 40 soldiers out of a NATO exercise in Norway, after the enemy chart issue.
Ankara prosecutors also said in a statement on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation against an individual or individuals who had denigrated and insulted Ataturk and Erdogan in the incidents.