Syria and Turkey - a step closer to conflict

  Forum Editor 13:35 04 Oct 2012

The Turkish parliament has authorised troops to cross the border into Syria if the Turkish government feels it is necessary.

This represents a distinct tightening of the finger on the trigger as far as Turkey is concerned, and I think it only needs one repetition of the incident in which two women and three children were killed in a border town by Syrian shelling for Turkey to react militarily.

NATO has condemned Syria's 'aggression' and demanded that it ceases, but Syria isn't a NATO member, and is unlikely to take any notice. Russia has simply asked the Syrian regime to acknowledge the 'tragic accident' and give an assurance it will not happen again.

A family friend is working in Ankara at the moment, and she tells me the atmosphere there is 'very tense'. She thinks the Turks would not hesitate to enter Syria if another shell falls on Turkish soil.

  wiz-king 13:56 04 Oct 2012

I expect the American and EU (us) will offer support.

  Forum Editor 14:05 04 Oct 2012


NATO has already issued a statement in support of Turkey.

As America and most European countries (including the UK)are members of NATO they are obliged to support Turkey - that's what NATO is there for.

  Flak999 14:09 04 Oct 2012

This could be the excuse that NATO needs for a full scale intervention in Syria. The Syrian shelling of Turkey if it happens again would be all that's needed for Turkey to ask for NATO assistance, on the basis that an attack against one is seen as an attack against all.

Here is the latest NATO statement regarding the recent cross border incident:

"In the spirit of indivisibility of security and solidarity deriving from the Washington Treaty, the Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law."

NATO statement

  Forum Editor 14:31 04 Oct 2012


A full scale intervention in Syria is the last thing on the NATO priority list. For one thing, Syria isn't a NATO member country, so any intervention by a NATO force would be viewed as an act of interference with a sovereign state.

Militarily speaking Turkey can look after itself, it is in the top ten countries in the world as far as fire-power is concerned, and as long as it has NATO backing - which it does - it has all it needs by way of support. Further acts of aggression on the part of Syria would be very foolish indeed.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:54 04 Oct 2012

Strike one!

the shooting down of Turkish jets and no apology issued

Strike two!!

Shelling of a border town and killing of women and children (at least an apology has been offered with a mention of an investigation). However return shelling and the posible eath of some Syrian solders may make matters worse. I hope this doesn't esculate into

Strike three!!!

This could possibly see the start of another Middle Eastern war?

  Aitchbee 15:01 04 Oct 2012

The Turkish tourist industry will be badly affected by the potential threat of any further serious developments with Syria.

  Flak999 15:21 04 Oct 2012

Forum Editor

"For one thing, Syria isn't a NATO member country, so any intervention by a NATO force would be viewed as an act of interference with a sovereign state."

But that's the whole point of NATO surely? An attack against one member state (in this case Turkey by Syria) is seen as an attack against all member states! The current impasse in the UN is because the security council cannot get a resolution past Russia and China authorising "all necessary means" of dealing with Assads regime.

If Syria is seen to have staged an unprovoked attack on Turkey then the provisions of the North Atlantic treaty on communal self defence apply and NATO could attack Syria without recourse to the security council?

  johndrew 16:02 04 Oct 2012

An attack against one member state (in this case Turkey by Syria) is seen as an attack against all member states.

This is the concept of mutual defence on which NATO was formed, primarily as a defence against Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War. However, the concept of mutual defence in the event of an attack on one member was never (to my knowledge) restricted to any single or group of countries. As a result the current situation could easily lead to a NATO support of a counter strike by Turkey. In turn this could lead to the intervention of Iran, who currently support Syria, and potentially those countries who support Syria and/or Iran.

Additionally, if such escalation occurs, there is the opportunity for Iran to carry out its threat against Israel where another treaty exists.

Suddenly there is the potential for something larger than the Cuban crisis in 1962. Not a good prospect if escalation does result.

  Forum Editor 16:49 04 Oct 2012


I think we need to be careful about calling what happened in Turkey 'an attack'. Syria has stated that it was an accident, and - for the time being - Turkey does not want to escalate the situation.

There's no question of NATO forces staging an invasion of Syria, and that scenario is very unlikely. NATO members agree to mutual defence, it isn't part of the agreement that NATO forces would ever invade another sovereign state. If military action is to be taken on Syrian soil it will be taken by Turkey. NATO has already confirmed its support for Turkey, and at the moment that's enough. NATO sees its prime functions as working to manage crises and prevent conflict, although there have been occasions on which NATO forces have carried out interventions - with UN security Council resolutions behind them. The Kosovo intervention springs to mind.

Whatever happens, NATO will strive to prevent any escalation.

  Flak999 17:19 04 Oct 2012

Forum Editor

Whatever happens, NATO will strive to prevent any escalation.

Well, the escalations all seem to be coming from the Syrian side so far. They have shot down Turkish aircraft and now killed Turkish civilians by firing artillery across the border. Just how many more provocations are Turkey expected to ignore?

Today the Turkish parliament has authorised troops to begin cross border action against Syrian targets.

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