Turkey requested meeting under Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty
It was fifth time in NATO history that members held special talks under Article 4
NATO's council: "We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey"
NATO’s North Atlantic Council condemned terrorism but didn’t commit to any specific action Tuesday to help Turkey after the country requested special talks due to heightened concerns over its security, including threats from ISIS on its Syrian border.
“We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruc and other attacks against police and military officers,” the council said in a statement after Tuesday’s meeting, referring to an attack last week in a border town across from Kobani, Syria.
The council, which is NATO’s governing body, said terrorism in any form could never be tolerated.
“Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity,” the statement said. “It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion – a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.”
Turkey requested the meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which allows countries to ask for consultations when they believe their territorial integrity, political independence or security are threatened.
It’s only the fifth time in NATO history that members will meet under Article 4, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told CNN.
“In the wake of increased security threats following the attacks against our security and law-enforcement forces in provinces of Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa and Kilis, in particular the terrorist attack that took the lives of 32 innocent Turkish citizens in Suruç on 20 July 2015, all necessary measures are being taken and in this context, operations are also being carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Upon these recent attacks and threats directed against our national security, North Atlantic Council has been called for a meeting by Turkey [this] week under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty with a view to informing our Allies about the measures we are taking and the operations we are conducting against terrorism, as well as to holding consultations with them,” it said.
A wave of violence
The talks came as Turkey grappled with a wave of violence near its southern border with Syria, and as Turkey has made an abrupt about-face in deciding to confront the terrorist group ISIS.
Before the meeting began, Turkey’s President called on NATO to “do its part” in helping address the country’s concerns over security on its borders.
Speaking Tuesday before a flight to China, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport: “In case of any NATO member being attacked, NATO has to give support to this member country. Turkey, which is currently being attacked, is now exercising its right to self-defense and security and will continue to use it.
“We are using our rights under international law and will continue to use them,” he said. “It is NATO’s duty, which is why we demand NATO be prepared in this regard.”
Turkey turns its guns on ISIS and Kurds
More than 1,000 suspected ISIS members and supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front supporters have been arrested since Friday.
A car bomb exploded Sunday in southern Turkey, killing two security officers and wounding four other people, according to officials.
On Thursday, at least five ISIS militants in northern Syria approached the border and fired on a Turkish border unit, killing a soldier and wounding two others, the Turkish military said.
Authorities say ISIS was also to blame for the suicide blast Monday that killed more than 30 people in Suruç.
And after the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, killed two Turkish police officers Wednesday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to take action.
Turkey believes the PKK is exploiting ISIS’ efforts. The PKK has been fighting for independence since 1984 and is feared to be making gains.
The group is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, but PKK militants have come to the aid of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who have been fighting ISIS in northern Iraq.
CNN’s Claudia Rebaza, Barbara Starr, Gul Tuysuz , Holly Yan and Don Melvin contributed to this report.