DID ARTICLE 5 OF THE NATO CHARTER—THE MUTUAL DEFENSE PROVISION—APPLY IN TURKEY YESTERDAY?

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?

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  1. #1 by Russell H. Manning on July 16, 2016 - 9:55 PM

    My concern for Turkey is Erdogan’s blatant drift towards authoritarianism and away from a strong secular government. I wouldn’t think NATO rules would allow any actions for an internal coup. The country isn’t under attack by another country. I hope Erdogan is admonished by this attempt. The military is NOT religious in Turkey and may have been motivated by Erdogan’s shifts.

  2. #2 by cheekos on July 16, 2016 - 11:55 PM

    Mr. Manning, thanks for your comment. I agree completely; however, in a real world scenario, no one is going to admonish Erdogan. In fact, in 1998, he was deposed as Mayor of Istanbul for trying to impose his conservative brand of Islam. And he was imprisoned. Now, he has turned the tables.

    We certainly need access to the air base in Turkey, from which we launch air strikes against ISIS. At the same time, NATO has maintained 40 nukes there. Erdogan is now demanding that we extradite the Muslim cleric, in a small Pennsylvania town who, the President claims, is leading the insurrection against him. Secretary of State John Kerry said that we would consider any valid request; however, I doubt that we would ever honor it. That claim is for the domestic audience. But, Turkey also needs our funding and back-up in the event Russia actually gets serious in their feud.

    Lastly, that cleric in Pennsylvania did offer quite a believable potential scenario for the sudden Coup Attempt. Although the potential for civil war has been smoldering in Turkey for several years, the President fired the previous top generals, replaced them with his men, and he gave them immunity just last week. And, for the past year or so, Erdogan has been attacking the Kurds, claiming that he had been quelling an uprising. That’s believed to just be a rouse.

    So, the cleric suggested that President Erdogan initiated the Attempted Coup himself, in order to take an even harsher line against the opposition, imprison their leaders, push even tougher security measures through Parliament, and just improve his hold on power with an even stronger hand.

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