Turkey withdrew 40 soldiers from last week’s computer-based exercise in Norway after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were depicted as “enemies”.

Speaking at Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk, Cavusoglu said FETO, the group behind last year’s defeated coup in Turkey, played a role in the incident.

“We see these attitudes, these kinds of things mostly as tactics of members of FETO,” he said, referring to Turkish military officers with FETO ties who had been previously posted to NATO.

FETO, which staged the July 15 coup that resulted in 250 martyrs, used some countries as a “buttress” for their goals, he added.

There were “circles that feel raw” about Turkey's opposition to “the new world plan”, Cavusoglu said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg apologized to Turkey and Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar over the use of Erdogan’s name and Ataturk’s picture on an “enemy chart” during the drills.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Cavusoglu said that 1,029 religious assets, which were designated to be originally owned by non-Muslim communities, were returned to these communities.

"We have taken these steps to make these [non-Muslim] communities feel as first-class citizens," he stressed.

Restoration of churches 

Cavusoglu said they have restored churches in many places in Turkey.

They have restored a church in northwestern Edirne and restoration of another church in southern Hatay is in progress, Cavusoglu said.

"On Sunday, a church in Istanbul that we have restored was opened by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew," he continued. 

He added that they have also commissioned some mechanisms to provide the return to Turkey of some Greek Orthodox minority members, who live abroad.

Cavusoglu said on the other hand, there is still no mosque in Greek capital Athens and it is said that a mosque will open there in early 2018.

He said PKK has not only vandalized Islamic monuments in southeastern Diyarbakir but also an Armenian Protestant Church and an Armenian Catholic Church.

"Now as Directorate General of Foundations, we are restoring these two churches," Cavusoglu said.

The churches belong to the minority foundations and Directorate General of Foundations is not seizing but just restoring them, he added.

Cavusoglu said an Assyrian Christian cemetery belonging to Mor Gabriel Monastery in southeastern Mardin was mistakenly transferred to state treasury.

"We are now transferring this cemetery back to its owners," Cavusoglu added.

Anadolu Agency