16 April 2014, Wednesday
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NATO has plans to defend Turkey if need be, Rasmussen says

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9 October 2012, Tuesday /REUTERS
The head of NATO said on Tuesday that the 28-member military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey against attack from Syria if necessary, but that he hoped the two countries would find a way to stop tensions escalating.

NATO ambassadors threw their support behind Turkey in an emergency meeting last week after Syrian shells struck a border town in Turkey killing five civilians.

The two neighbours have repeatedly exchanged fire since then, the most serious outbreak of cross-border violence since Syria's revolt against President Bashar al-Assad erupted 18 months ago.

"We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary," Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters before a meeting of the alliance's defence ministers in Brussels.

On Monday, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said the "worst-case scenarios" were now playing out in Syria and that Turkey would do everything necessary to protect itself.

Gül said that the violence in Turkey's southern neighbour, where a revolt against Assad has evolved into a civil war that threatens to draw in regional powers, could not go on indefinitely.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday the escalation of the conflict along the Turkey-Syria border and the impact of the crisis on Lebanon were "extremely dangerous".

The Turkish army fired back on Monday for a sixth day after a shell from Syria flew over the border and has bolstered its  presence along the 900-km (560-mile) frontier in recent days.

Rasmussen commended the Turkish government for its restraint, saying he hoped the parties would avoid an escalation of the crisis.

"Obviously Turkey has a right to defend herself within international law," he said. "I would add to that that obviously Turkey can rely on NATO solidarity."

Turkey joined NATO in 1952.


There will be not even one american or european ready to die to grant power to Turkey. If Ankara wants to beleive in such fantastic stories it means the country is going without any stop right down to hell!
Mirz -- "hiding behind NATO?" This Syria situation is precisely what NATO still exists to address: significant threats to members' security, especially when there is good reason to think they may become a significant threat to others! Turkey can call on NATO BECAUSE Turkey is major power, one of ...
Morse Fan
The Syrian problem is a Turkish problem, unless Turkey handicaps Syria or at least by attacking WITH OR WITHOUT NATO sends a clear message that Turkey will not tolerate any misunderstanding regarding it's resolve on Syrian matter, this can last for ever and the price to play will be higher, the lead...
Like NATO defended Bosnia? Good defence, 20% of population dead, 45% displaced, country divided in three parts. Have a nice NATO defence, Turkey!
Believe this story and you will believe anything. If the Syrian war with Turkey kicks of Russia and China will back Syria and NATO will want nothing to do with it.
Two sides to every coin
Of course they would not "love it." Americans never love military action or war. But don't ever believe they would not do it. Americans do many things when pressed.
Morse Fan
Yavuz, Turkey should not have to change her religion, culture and historical ties for the US or anyone else to like them. The US has had strong relations with Turkey knowing well that 98% of the country is Muslim. I find your thoughts of Tukey having to become more European, less Muslim, and less Mi...
Turkey wants to use its attacks on syria to prove it is a great power, but by hiding behind NATO' arms, Turkey once again proves that it is a paper tiger.
According to latest report, it was Libya's Abdul Hakim Belhadj who gave CIA Osama Bin Laden's hide out location.
@Yavuz The USA doesn't have much choice with regards to allies in the middle east, especially now that the old regimes are falling. Turkey is a much better fit than any other state in the region. Also i think you are overstating the extent to which Turkey is turning to the East. For example the AKP ...
Anders Fogh Rasmussen--how appropriate that he is the NATO chief and public face of the organization. A big supporter of the Iraq war in 2003. Defender of the Muhammad cartoons publication in Denmark when he was PM (forgotten that have we?) Staunch opponent of immigration to the EU, particularly of ...
Chester B
I am sure that the American public would LOVE, simply be thrilled, to get engaged in war in the Middle East on behalf of a country that is led by an Islamist party, is hostile towards Israel, and in general is seeking to integrate back into the Middle East rather than into Europe and its values. Not...
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