Bekir Bozdag says incident should not be swept under rug
Turkey's deputy prime minister on Monday called last week's drill incident in Norway "one of the biggest scandals in NATO's history".
Speaking to reporters in the capital Ankara, Bekir Bozdag said: "This is one of the biggest scandals in NATO's history. We state clearly that this incident should not be swept under the rug."
Turkey withdrew from NATO's Trident Javelin exercise in Norway on Friday after a civilian Norwegian official depicted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an "enemy collaborator".
A portrait of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was also shown in the "hostile leader list" during a computer-assisted exercise.
Following the incident, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg apologized to Turkey in a written statement, Erdogan on phone, and in person to the Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar during a meeting in Canada.
Speaking about the arrest of Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf in New York, Bozdag said the case is a conspiracy against Turkey.
"We clearly state that this case is political, it has no legal base. It is a conspiracy against Turkey. Those who hear the case are clearly putting pressure on the suspects," he said.
Sarraf has been in jail in the U.S. pending trial. He was arrested last year on alleged fraud and Iran sanctions-related charges.
Turkey has launched a probe into two American lawyers, including a former attorney and a current attorney in the U.S. who are involved in a case against Turkish citizens in New York.
The Public Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul on Saturday accused former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara and current U.S. attorney Joon H. Kim for the southern district of New York of using information and documents from previous investigations in Turkey for an ongoing case in the U.S.
Bharara, who had launched a probe against Sarraf, was fired on March 11.