NATO Watch Media Briefing
For Immediate Release: 26 June 2012
Contact: Dr. Ian Davis | +44 (0)7887 782389
The North Atlantic Council (NAC), the most senior political governing body of NATO, met earlier today at Turkey's request for consultations within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty. The NAC, meeting at the level of Permanent Representatives of the 28 member states, discussed the shooting down of a Turkish aircraft by Syria on Friday last week (see NATO Watch News Brief, 25 June). It was only the second time in NATO's 63-year history that members have convened under Article 4 of its charter, after Turkey requested talks about the Iraq war in 2003. The article provides for consultations when a member state feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.
Shortly after 11.30 (Brussels time), Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen came to the microphone to read out a short statement following the NAC meeting. He said that all member states considered Syria’s shooting down of the Turkish aircraft as “unacceptable” and “condemn it in the strongest possible terms”.
He added that NATO will continue to follow the situation closely and with great concern as the security of the Alliance is indivisible and they would stand together in solidarity. He declined to answer journalists questions in any detail about what action NATO might take or give any technical details on what the Turkish delegation reported at the meeting. He repeated several times that NATO would “remain seized of developments”.
The possibility of a Turkish/Syrian war appears to be growing as a result of escalating rhetoric. The initial calm response by Turkish politicians is slowly evaporating and being replaced by a harder line. It is difficult to assess whether the measured and tight-lipped diplomatic line publicly taken by NATO will reassure Ankara or encourage Turkey to go it alone. NATO is unlikely to be pushed into making an Article 5 declaration since there are too many dissenting voices within the Alliance for that to happen.
For further details, please see the attached Media Briefing.