The depiction of Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an “enemy chart” at a NATO military drill in Norway should be understood as a disrespectful attitude towards the values of the Turkish people, Hikmat Babaoghlu, Azerbaijani MP, editor-in-chief of “Yeni Azerbaijan” (New Azerbaijan) newspaper, told APA.
Earlier, Erdogan had stated that Turkey had withdrawn 40 soldiers from a NATO military exercise in Norway, after the country's founding leader Ataturk and himself were depicted in an “enemy chart”.
Following the incident, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg officially apologized to Turkey. NATO's Allied Command also sent a letter of apology to the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Given the fact that Turkey has been an ally of NATO for 65 years, it become even more difficult to explain this kind of attitude, said the Azerbaijani MP.
“However, this complex issue has a very simple explanation. That is, Turkey was declared an ally of NATO because of its geo-strategic position against the Warsaw Pact countries,” he said. “Over 25 years have passed since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. New geo-strategic conditions were formed.”
The MP pointed to the rapid development of strategic cooperation between Turkey and Russia, the political heiress of the Warsaw bloc. “The reason for this is that in recent years NATO has not been acting as an ally with Turkey, but has become a military and political center that poses a threat to Turkey’s security. In such a situation, Turkey was compelled to look for new allies,” said Babaoghlu.
He went on to explain: “However, this is not all. During a NATO drill in early 2000s, the Alliance’s map of the new Middle East and North Africa project portrayed several so-called states on the territory of Turkey. Later on, we witnessed that hybrid wars waged by the North Atlantic bloc were aimed at dividing Turkey.”
Today, Turkey has not become just a target of exercises, said the Azerbaijani MP. “Turkey is well aware of this. However, in early 2000s, Turkey could not react to such actions so harshly due to weakness. Today, Turkey, a fraternal country to Azerbaijan, is able to adequately respond to such immoral attacks,” he added.
MP Babaoghlu recalled that the people and government of Turkey were able to give a worthy response to the events of 15 July 2016, which are considered a dangerous and immoral interference in Turkey’s internal affairs.
As for the apology the NATO leadership issued immediately after the incident, the MP believes it is difficult to convince someone of their sincerity.
“…because such incidents happen systematically. Therefore, Turkey should rely solely on itself and create a new center of power in the region, given the new geopolitical conditions. The post-bipolar world is coming to an end. Now the world is moving towards a new multipolar world order. Why does Turkey together with its allies become a new center of power in this new situation?!” he added.
Azerbaijani MP Fazil Mustafa also commented on the incident during a NATO drill, stressing that such an ill-mannered attitude towards Turkey is unacceptable.
“This incident justly caused the dissatisfaction among the Turkish people. Turkey’s position on this issue was fair and, for this reason, NATO apologized to Turkey. They did not allow the tension to be aggravated even more. But this not a good precedent, because each people has its own values, symbols and persons representing their state. Such a disrespectful attitude towards them is unacceptable,” he added.
Elkhan Shahinoglu, head of the Atlas Research Center, said that the events in Norway do not look like an accident:
"Yes, those who allegedly fired at Ataturk’s and Erdogan's pictures were dismissed from their posts, and even the NATO Secretary General apologized. But this is nothing new. What happened makes us think about certain western circles’ attitude toward Turkey. While previously it was Erdogan beign targeted, now they are attacking Ataturk, the creator of the Turkish state. This means that we are talking not only about hatred for Erdogan, but in general for Turkey and everything of Turkish statehood. In such circumstances, Turkey is reconsidering its policy. It is not accidental that the Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces and the President of Turkey immediately withdrew the Turkish military from the NATO exercises. Then they ask why Turkey withdrew from the West and is drawing closer to Russia, to the East ?! Because of this hatred in the West against Turkey and its creators, Ankara is seriously reconsidering its foreign policy. For example, the US is now asking why Turkey’s purchasing from S-400 systems from Russia, warning that NATO should not sell such missiles to Turkey any more. Turkey had appealed to the United States and EU countries for the acquisition of missiles of this class but they had not sold any to Turkey. Therefore, Turkey was forced to purchase these defense missiles from Russia. What should Turkey have done in such a situation? Or another example, Turkey has been forced to wait 60 years at the threshold of the European Union, while over these years many large and small states have been accepted into in the EU.
This is belittling the significance of Turkey. What is Turkey supposed to do? Of course, Turkey should look for alternative ways. Therefore, the West should not condemn Turkey for this. The West should think about why Turkey has distanced itself from it and gotten closer to Russia. The West itself is to blame for it. When Erdogan came to power, he tried every way to make Turkey a member of the European Union, fulfilling many conditions for this and carrying out reforms. However, he saw that after fulfilling one condition, two more conditions were laid down, and after fulfilling them, another five conditions were put forward. It became clear to him that they don’t want Turkey as part of the EU. Therefore, Erdogan turned away from such structures. Unless the West's policy towards Turkey changes, Turkey is unlikely to take any steps towards the West”
© APA 2018