Turkey calls Nato meeting on Syria

27 July 2015

Instability spills over Syrian border

  • Turkey calls meeting of Nato on 28 July
  • Request follows recent spate of violence in the country, as instability spills over its southern border with Syria

Turkey has called a meeting of Nato to address a series of attacks against Turkish security forces in the south of the country, near the border with Syria. The meeting is expected to take place on 28 July in Brussels.

“Upon these recent attacks and threats directed against our national security, Nato has been called for a meeting by Turkey under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, with a view to informing our allies about the measures we are taking and the operations we are conducting against terrorism, as well as to holding consultations with them,” said a press release from Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

While the meeting will not automatically lead to Nato military action, it indicates that Turkey is stepping up its operations against both the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkish forces have carried out air strikes on Isis positions and PKK militants in Syria and northern Iraq. Ankara is concerned that Kurdish militias control a large section of Turkey’s borders with both Iraq and Syria.The air strikes followed a bomb attack that killed 32 people, mainly Kurds, in the Turkish border town of Suruc on 20 July.

A long-running peace process between the PKK and the Turkish government is now thought to have broken down. Ankara has blamed this on a car bomb that targeted a military convoy near Diyarbakir, killing two soldiers, in a revenge attack by Kurdish separatists. A series of police raids and arrests provoked violent clashes between protestors and security forces, leading to the death of a policeman in Istanbul on Sunday.

Turkey’s more proactive approach comes as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad admits his government lacks the manpower to hold all regions of the country, as the civil war continues its fourth year with few signs of a definitive resolution.

Ankara had been accused of allowing foreign fighters, including potential Isis members, to transit through the country, as it worked to aid rebel groups against the Al-Assad regime. Turkey may now ask for military assistance in setting up a buffer zone inside Syria.

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