Ambassadors of all 28 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have been called to an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Brussels at the request of Turkey.
The allies were summoned under Article 4 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty, according to a statement released Sunday by NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.
The request came in the wake of last week’s attacks on two fronts, one by Da’esh (ISIS) and the other by the outlawed Kurdish separatist PKK terror organization, which has fought for autonomy since 1984.
“Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days, and also to inform allies of the measures it is taking,” NATO said. “NATO allies follow developments very closely and stand in solidarity with Turkey.”
Under the treaty, Turkey has the right to request military assistance,, surveillance aircraft to monitor activity along the Syrian border, or even to call for establishment of a “safe zone” in northern Syria. The latter has been under discussion for several days.
Article 4 reads: “The parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.”
Turkey has invoked Article 4 twice before, in 2003 and 2012.
A week ago Monday a Da’esh (ISIS) suicide bomber attacked a cultural center in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc, killing 32 Kurdish youth activists who were engaged in sending aid across the border to the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, six miles away. Kurds blamed Turkey for not patrolling the porous 500-mile border with Syria.
And the outlawed Kurdish PKK separatist terror organization retaliated – not against Da’esh, but against Turkey — with a deadly car bombing. Two Turkish soldiers were killed in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir on Saturday night. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack. Turkey said PKK terrorists also attacked a police station in the province.
Late Sunday, Turkish F-16 fighter jets struck back, aiming at PKK terror targets in the northern Iraqi town of Hakurk, according to Turkish security sources.
Turkey’s military operations will continue as long as there is a threat, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. The U.S. backed Ankara’s air strikes in Iraq, according to a report in the British newspaper The Telegraph.
Talks between the Kurdish terror group and Ankara that led to a cease-fire in 2013 have not resulted in a formal agreement. However, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) garnered 12 percent of the votes in this past parliamentary election, entering the governing body for the very first time.