Middle East

Turkey: NATO has plan to defend the country

New NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of Norway looks on during a visit at Lask air base October 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

ANKARA: The NATO alliance has drawn up a strategy to defend Turkey if it is attacked along its border with Syria, a Turkish official said Monday.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, whose country is a NATO member, said the alliance did that at his government's request as Islamic State militants, who have captured a large swath of Iraq and Syria, are trying to take the Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border.

"If there is an attack, NATO's joint defense mechanisms will be activated," Yilmaz told reporters. "From the moment the incidents relating to Syria first started, we asked NATO to prepare for possibilities to make plans. NATO prepared a plan taking various alternatives into account."

"Therefore," he said, "if there is an attack on Turkey, NATO will bring about the provisions of Article 5 of the Washington Convention." Article 5 states that an attack against one NATO member shall be considered an attack against all members.

Asked about this in Brussels, a NATO official said, "NATO has all the plans in place to defend all its allies against attack." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to make public statements on the matter.

Kurdish forces are defending Kobani, but two banners of the Islamic State group were raised over a building and a nearby hill on Monday, suggesting that the militants may have broken through the Kurdish perimeter.

 

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