Saturday 10 December 2016

Turkey urges Nato talks on security threat

Nabih Bulos in Beirut

Published 27/07/2015 | 02:30

Left-wing militants try to protect themselves as Turkish anti-riot police fire water cannon to disperse a demonstration in Istanbul
Left-wing militants try to protect themselves as Turkish anti-riot police fire water cannon to disperse a demonstration in Istanbul

Turkey has called for an emergency Nato meeting tomorrow to discuss security after Ankara stepped up its assault on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and Kurdish opposition forces with intensified air strikes.

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All 28 Nato allies will meet tomorrow in Brussels after Ankara made the request under article 4 of the Nato treaty, when "the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened".

Turkey could ask its Nato allies for military assistance in the fight against Isil or call for the establishment of a "safe zone" in northern Syria.

Reports suggested that Ankara could ask for surveillance aircraft to provide assistance on its Syrian border.

The crisis began last Monday when a suspected Isil suicide bomber blew himself up in south-eastern Turkey, killing 32 mainly Kurdish youth activists who were intending to take aid to the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Kobane six miles away across the border.

Kurds rounded on the government, blaming its laxity in patrolling the 500-mile border with Syria. The PKK, the outlawed Kurdish separatist group, has since claimed responsibility for a series of revenge attacks which killed three policemen in separate incidents.

On Saturday, two Turkish soldiers were killed when a car bomb struck their convoy in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakir.

In addition to launching air strikes against Isil and PKK positions in Syria and northern Iraq, Ankara has detained hundreds of people with suspected links to both groups.

"As of now, a total of 590 terror-linked people who pose potential threat to Turkey are under detention," said Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister.

Yesterday, Turkish jets again pounded PKK targets in northern Iraq, which the PKK described as effectively ending the two-year ceasefire with the group.

Irish Independent

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