NATO has announced that the North Atlantic Council, the alliance’s decision-making body, will be holding a Tuesday meeting after being called by Turkey invoking an Article 4 request, meaning the country believes its territorial integrity is under threat.
It is unclear from official statements on the matter so far if the meeting is strictly related to the fighting between Turkish forces and ISIS along the border, or if the recent spate of Turkish strikes against the Kurdish PKK in Iraq is also part of the meeting.
ISIS carried out a bombing in southern Turkey, near the Kurdish city of Kobani, killing 32 people last week. Since then, Turkish troops have fought ISIS along the border and carried out airstrikes against ISIS targets in northern Syria. At the same time, Turkey began attacking PKK targets in northern Iraq on Friday, and are accusing the PKK of being behind a bombing that killed two Turkish soldiers Sunday.
Interestingly, Turkey had been looking the other way as ISIS used it as a route for smuggling in fighters and gear for years, and as recently as this month suggested the viewed Syria’s Kurds as the real threat, not ISIS. Still, it’s a foregone conclusion ISIS will be the top subject at the NATO meeting, whether or not the Kurds are also a subject.
Since Turkey is a member nation, NATO is obliged to provide military support to defend its borders from foreign threats. This could be used by hawkish NATO nations, parlaying Turkish sovereignty into an excuse to make the ISIS war a formal NATO operation, and one that would be dramatically escalated in the process.