Nato has plans to defend Turkey if need be
Brussels, October 9, 2012
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 Gul said the "worst-case scenarios" were now playing out in Syria and that Turkey would do everything necessary to protect itself.
Gul 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. – Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Gunmen fire on army bus in Cairo, 1 killed
- Lost jet 'may have flown for four hours'
- Gold up as Ukraine, China prompt safe-haven bids
- Search finds no sign of lost plane at suspect spot
- Missing jet may have strayed to Andaman
- Gold hits near 6-month high
- 2 killed in Manhattan building blast
- Cameron pushes for travel bans on Russian MPs
- Indian coastguards join Malaysia jet search
- Confusion as search for lost jet spreads
- Military denies lost plane's flight to Malacca
- Investors monitoring Pimco after internal strife
- N Korea tanker ‘leaves Libya rebel port carrying oil’
- Malaysia plane incident not terror related: Interpol
- Crimea closes air space to commercial flights
- Missing Malaysian plane last seen At Malacca Strait
- Stolen passport holder on missing plane is Iranian
- China deploys 10 satellites to search for Malaysia jet
- Libya says halts tanker outside port; rebels deny it
- Libya orders military force to 'liberate' ports
- Big bananas: Chiquita, Fyffes merge
- Radar sweeps, dozens of aircraft, but no sign of plane
- N Korea tanker loads oil at Libya rebel port
- Gold drops as US growth optimism weighs
- Merkel raps Putin; Russia tightens grip on Crimea
- World 'at sea' over missing Malaysian jetliner
- Passports requiring probe were on Malaysia flight
- 40 killed in Yemen as Houthi fighters near capital
- Vietnam finds object in sea; search on
- $5bn poll spend to boost India economy