(FILE PHOTO)A NATO flag and the flags of participating countries are pictured during the Dynamic Monarch-17, a NATO-sponsored submarine escape and rescue exercise, at the Turkish Naval base of Aksaz, Turkey, September 20, 2017. Picture taken September 20, 2017. (REUTERS PHOTO)
ANKARA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Turkey has decided to withdraw its 40 soldiers from a NATO military exercise in Norway after the Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and its current president were included among targets of "enemies," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
"There was an incident in Norway yesterday. They put up something like enemies board which included Ataturk's picture and my name. These are the targets," Erdogan said in a speech to ruling Justice and Development Party's meeting in Ankara.
"Our Chief of General Staff and EU Minister, who were on their way to Canada, have called us and informed that it was a NATO exercise. We had 40 soldiers there. We decided to withdraw those troops," he said.
Erdogan called the move "unacceptable," adding "We would withdraw those troops even if those names are removed."
"Such a state can not be an ally of Turkey," the Turkish president said.
An NATO multinational military exercise is hosted by Norway between Nov.1-18.