Yesterday’s “Attempted Coup D-Etat” in Turkey raises an important question: Does Article 5, of the NATO Charter call for the Mutual Defense—an attack against one member nation is an attack against all—response in the event of an Internal Coup, or Civil War? As yesterday’s events unfolded, I’m sure that that issue initiated considerable discussion in capitals around Europe. In addition, the U. S, and other Member Nations, currently have Military Forces stationed in Turkey.
Turkey’s role within NATO during Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Administration has, at best, been tenuous. Founded in 1923, Modern Turkey, had most always been a democratic secular state. Since Erdogan assumed power in 2003, however, first as Prime Minister, and then as President, he has been converting it to an Authoritarian Conservative Islamic Nation. He has drastically overturned much of Democracy, eradicated Human Rights, placed most media under strict Government control, and imprisoned many of his academic and political adversaries.
The question for NATO member nations—in particular France, Germany, the U. K. and the U. S–is: how to balance it’s guiding principles of “…democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law” (as cited in the Charter’s Preamble) with the value of including an Islamic nation, which is well-positioned geographically at the crossroads between Asia and Europe?
The potential powder keg, which never quite exploded yesterday, was totally an internal one. Unlike Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, two years ago, and (former Soviet) Georgia in 2008, neither Russia nor any other external power, seemed to have played a role or participated in the situation, which has been simmering from within. So, as far as I can determine, the situation in Turkey yesterday would not have justified invoking Article 5, or any other NATO Provision. Given what happened, will NATO modify its Charter now?