Turkish city decides to change name of ‘NATO Yolu Street’ as reaction to NATO

The name of “NATO Yolu Street” in Zile district of Turkey’s Tokat province was changed to “Ata Street” by the Assembly of Zile Municipality which is under the administration of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Turkey’s autocratic Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Zile Municipality Assembly has explained the reasoning of the name change by stating that it was decided to change the name of “NATO Yolu Caddesi” in Zile district center because NATO’s “Trident Javelin” exercise at the Joint Warfare Centre in Norway was shown Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkish Republic, and President Erdoğan’s photographs as enemy force leaders.

Turkey had withdrawn from the Trident Javelin exercise at The Joint Warfare Centre in Norway, which was held between Nov. 8 and Nov. 17, after a civilian Norwegian official depicted Erdoğan as an “enemy collaborator” during a bloc exercise. A portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was also shown on a “hostile leader list” during a computer-assisted exercise.

In a second incident an alliance officer posted defamatory comments about Erdoğan on an intra-NATO social media site. The technician and the military officer were later sacked, and Ankara withdrew 40 soldiers from the drill.

The Zile Municipal Council has decided to changed the name to ‘Ata Street’ last week with the votes of 8 members of the council from the ruling AKP, 4 members of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and 3 members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Head of the council, Zile Mayor Lütfi Vidinel has changed all the plates showing the name of the street to “Ata Street.”

The purchase of S-400 missile defense systems by Turkish government from Russia will be finalized “this week”, President Erdoğan said Monday during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara. “Our colleagues will come together this week to conclude this project,” Erdoğan announced after an hour-long meeting with the Russian leader.

The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles. On trade, Erdoğan said cooperation between Ankara and Moscow was getting stronger “day by day.”

“We have a harmonious working environment at the political level,” said Erdoğan. The two leaders have met eight times this year. Erdoğan said Ankara and Moscow would hold a seventh High-Level Cooperation Council meeting in 2018.

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