Last year, the profile of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared among “enemies” during a NATO exercise in Norway, angering Turkey and causing a rift within the alliance. Having completed its investigation of the incident, NATO put a lid on the case, the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten reported.
The exercise Trident Javelin, led from the Joint Warfare Center at Stavanger, was referred to as last year’s most important NATO exercise. The exercise, which took place in November 2017, was seen as preparation for a still larger exercise, Trident Juncture, to be held in Norway in the autumn of 2018 featuring up to 40,000 troops. In connection with the desktop exercise, however, social media messages were published, presenting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, as enemies.
Everything that happens as part of the exercise must be approved by the Exercise Management. A very central question has therefore been whether any NATO official approved the “Erdogan/Atatürk” message before it was sent out.
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“If it appears that the message was sent out consciously, Turkey will react strongly. In the country, the story has already become part of the narrative about a ‘smear campaign’ against the…