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Turkey has pulled its troops out of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise in Norway over an alleged insult to its political leaders.

Turkey withdrew its troops from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military exercise in Norway after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the country's founding leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were listed as "enemies", state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday.

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 told me that they are withdrawing our 40 soldiers from there [Norway]", Erdoğan said.

The country has the second largest military force in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and is involved both in coalition efforts against so-called Islamic State and in Nato's Afghanistan mission. "It will be for the Norwegian authorities to decide on any disciplinary action", he also said.

Speaking to fellow members of Turkey's ruling party Friday, Erdogan said, "They used an enemy chart in Norway". North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been in contact with the Norwegian authorities on this issue.

Stoltenberg added that Turkey is a "valued NATO Ally, which makes important contributions to Allied security".

Stoltenberg conveyed apologies to Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar at the ongoing International Security Forum in Canada, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official said.

"The message does not reflect Norway's views or policies and I apologise for the content of the message", Mr Bakke-Jensen said.

"I have been informed about offence caused in a recently concluded exercise at NATO's Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway", he said, in a statement.

He added that the individual was removed from the exercise and an investigation was under way.

In a televised speech, Erdogan said that Akar and EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik had told him about the incident and taken the decision to cancel.

The JWC is a multinational North Atlantic Treaty Organisation unit based in Stavanger, Oslo.

  • Rogelio Becker