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September 08, 2011

US, NATO Must Take Stand Regarding Implicit Turkish Declaration Of War On Israel

In June of 2010, the Israelis engaged a group of jihadi pirates who were engaged in a martyrdom operation designed to break a legal blockade established by Israel against terrorist-controlled Gaza. At the time, the Turkish Prime Minister threatened to provide a military escort to future groups of ships seeking to run a blockade in violation of international law -- a course of action which I pointed out at the time would be tantamount to provoking a war with Israel if it were carried out.

Prime Minister Erdogan has again issued the same bellicose threat to engage in an act of war against Israel.

Turkey said on Thursday it would escort aid ships to Gaza and would not allow a repetition of last year's Israeli raid that killed nine Turks, setting the stage for a potential naval confrontation with its former ally.

* * *

"Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorized to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza," Erdogan said in the interview, broadcast by Al Jazeera with an Arabic translation.

"From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla," Erdogan said.

This threat again creates a dangerous situation for the United States -- and for the NATO alliance -- in the event that the Islamist leader of Turkey carries out this newly announced policy. After all, Turkey is a NATO member, and as such is covered under this portion of the NATO agreement.

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

Article 6

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Which was extended by the agreement under which Turkey joined the alliance:

Article 2

If the Republic of Turkey becomes a Party to the North Atlantic Treaty, Article 6 of the Treaty shall, as from the date of the deposit by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of its instruments of accession with the Government of the United States of America, be modified to read as follows:

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

  1. on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  2. on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Do you see the problem? You should.

If Turkey carries out this announced policy of using its military forces to break the Gaza blockade, Israel is likely to be forced to engage Turkish forces to enforce the blockade. At that point, Turkey is likely to invoke the Article 5 principle "that an armed attack against one or more of them. . . shall be considered an attack against them all". In that case, Turkey will be making the case that Israel's enforcement of the blockade would constitute the creation of a state of war between Israel and all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

It is obvious that Turkey is trying to provoke precisely such a situation. It is even more obvious that permitting Turkey to do so unrestrained cannot be allowed. The United States must therefore take a leadership role in declaring that the United States will not regard any military engagement between Israel and Turkey in such a situation to be an event that triggers Article 5. The rest of the NATO members must affirm that declaration.

However, the Obama Administration has not been supportive of Israeli security, and one has to ask if President Obama will show the leadership needed in this instance. If he does not, will other nations take the lead in making such a declaration? And in either event, will Turkey's actions serve to fragment the six-decade old alliance into pro and anti Israel camps? Will NATO survive such fragmentation if the United States does not take a leading role in curbing the Turkish aggression -- especially if some or all of Israel's neighbors take the opportunity created by Erdogan's bellicosity to attack the Jewish state in a show of solidarity with their Islamic brethren.

What I'm suggesting is that the Turkish words today present a much more grave security issue for the United States than press coverage in this country would make it appear. We need to talk about this now -- and it needs to be an issue raised by GOP candidates as they discuss foreign policy and national security leading into the presidential primaries.





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Comments on US, NATO Must Take Stand Regarding Implicit Turkish Declaration Of War On Israel

Cry me a river! Where was Nato when ships of its member were boarded in high seas and its citizens were shot to death at point blank?

|| Posted by Cuneyt, September 9, 2011 09:33 AM ||

What? You mean when Israel confronted pirates on the high seas who were attempting to run a blockade that was legal under international law? You know, the same jihadi corsairs who refused the legal orders of the Israeli navy and then used deadly force against Israeli military forces without justification or provocation.

Frankly, Israel would have been justified in sinking the ships after that, and executing the passengers.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, September 9, 2011 02:37 PM ||

I'm almost sure that the Turkish government knows that Israel has arms of mass destruction in their arsenal??

Turkey is in NO position themselves in a war against Israel...

Guess it is a new and brave world we live in now..

|| Posted by B Hill, September 14, 2011 12:07 PM ||
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