April 13, 2012

Turkey has reminded NATO that it is responsible for securing the country’s borders. This comes after cross-border fire from Syria hit a refugee camp on Turkish territory.

­“NATO has responsibilities to do with Turkey’s borders, according to Article 5 [of the NATO Treaty],” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.

The article states that an attack on any of NATO member should be considered as an attack on the entire alliance.

On Monday, Turkey claimed that Syrian forces fired across the border at a refugee camp, wounding two Syrians and two Turkish aid workers.

Erdogan’s sharp statement comes as Syria begins a scheduled ceasefire. The truce is a part of a UN-brokered peace plan to bring President Bashar Al-Assad and the opposition to the negotiation table.

Hisham Ghassib, a political analyst from Jordan, thinks Erdogan’s statement is simply “acrobatics” – and that Turkey is not serious about the call.

“It is inertia of the situation that is driving them towards this absurdity,” he said.

The analyst asserts that oil-rich and Western countries have realized that the Assad government is not going to be toppled.

“The regime is too strong for these methods, they [Western countries] know that the regime is there to stay, but of course now the regime should reform itself to prepare itself for any extended aggression,” Ghassib explained.

However, journalist Patrick Hayes told RT the West might be working on more creative ways to bring down the Assad government.

“You have the Turkish prime minister who’s come back today from China, and he’s talking about evoking Charter Five of the NATO treaty – which would allow them to sidestep the United Nations and to take action against Syria because of the alleged disrespect of the Turkish borders.”

Hayes also said that Turkey could use the 1998 Adana Agreement, which states that “Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity that emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey,” as a trump card.

“There is already some talk in some quarters about the idea that Turkey in particular could recognize the Syrian National Council as a government in exile and effectively see the Assad regime as terrorists,” he said. Hayes continued that Turkey could “then use the 1998 Adana Agreement, or other agreements that Turkey has with Syria, in order to try and use force against the Assad regime.”


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