Friday

19th Apr 2019

Turkey calls emergency Nato talks on Syria

  • Leaked map of Syrian air defences (Photo: James L'Angelle)

Turkey has invoked the softer article four of the Nato treaty after Syria shot down one of its warplanes on Friday (22 June).

Its decision will see the 28 Nato countries' ambassadors hold emergency talks in the North Atlantic Council, the political steering group of the military alliance, in Brussels on Tuesday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Article four says that any ally can call talks if it thinks its security has been "threatened."

The more tough article five says "an armed attack against one or more [Nato member] ... shall be considered an attack against them all" and permits "the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area."

Article four talks have in the past seen Nato take low-level action - in 2003 it sent patriot rockets to Turkey after Ankara voiced worries about Iraqi scud missiles.

Article five has been invoked just once in Nato's history, after 9/11. But the attack on Afghanistan took place outside Nato structures.

The emergency talks come after Syrian air defences shot down a Turkish F4 jet into the Mediterranean sea.

Syria says the plane violated its airspace.

Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on national TV on Saturday that it entered Syrian territory by mistake for a moment, but that it was shot down in international airspace. He said it re-entered Syrian airspace after being hit due to "abnormal movements."

Western powers have in the past said military intervention in Syria is impossible without a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution, which is being blocked by Russia, its old ally.

The Nato charter gives it permission to act without the UN, but there is little appetite for military action.

Speaking to EUobserver on Friday morning before the F4 incident, Turkey's EU affairs minister, Egemen Bagis said "Putin is the key" to Syria's future, referring to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Its EU ambassador, Selim Yenel, earlier in the week told this website: "There is no easy solution. So maybe they [the rebels] will have to do it themselves, the hard way."

EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday plan to impose extra economic santcions on Damascus.

But the British, Dutch and Swedish ministers told press on Monday morning that the F4 incident will not trigger retaliation.

The UK's William Hague said: "I don't think it illustrates a different phase of the Syrian crisis."

The Netherlands' Uri Rosenthal said military action is "out of the question."

Sweden's Carl Bildt noted that "miltarisation of the conflict" could lead to "sectarian fragmentation ... with devastating consequences for years to come." He added that any extra sanctions "will not be decisive" because the regime is insulated from economic problems.

Meanwhile, draft conclusions for an EU summit on Thursday - also written before the F4 incident - say Syria must "stop immediately its attacks against the civilian population."

They call for an "inclusive, orderly and peaceful transition" and note that "all those responsible for ... crimes must be held accountable."

This story was altered at 10.30am Brussels time on 25 June to add the EU foreign ministers' quotes

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us