NATO prepares as Turkey calls security meeting | News | DW | 27.07.2015
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NATO prepares as Turkey calls security meeting

Turkey has called for a meeting of its NATO allies to discuss threats to its security as it carries out air strikes on "Islamic State" and Kurdish rebels. Ankara has been responding after a week of terror attacks.

NATO announced that the North Atlantic Council - its decision-making body - would convene on Tuesday.

The gathering comes after Ankara invoked the alliance's Article 4, which allows member states to request a meeting should they feel territorial integrity or security is under threat.

The Turkish Ministry is set to inform allies about airstrikes ordered by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a week of violence. A suicide bomb linked to "Islamic State" (IS), near to the border with Syria, killed 32 people. An IS attack on Turkish forces also left one soldier dead.

In the strikes being carried out since Friday, Turkish planes attacked IS positions in Syria as well as Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant positions in northern Iraq.

Ambassadors of all 28 member countries would be expected to attend the meeting, "in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days," NATO said.

NATO as a whole is not involved in operations against IS, although many of its members have signed up to the US-led coalition. However, NATO is - as a military alliance - committed to helping defend Turkey.

US gets airbase access

Davutoglu said late on Sunday that no Turkish ground troops would be committed to Syria but that Ankara would assist the US in providing air cover for rebel groups such as the Free Syrian Army. On Friday, Turkey also gave the US access to its Incirlik airbase for mounting anti-IS raids.

Since Friday Turkish authorities have rounded up at least 851 suspected members of IS, the PKK and the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C) nationwide, claiming they pose a threat to the state, the Anatolia news agency said.

The PKK airstrikes threaten to undermine a fragile truce held between the government and the group since 2013. The PKK, which has waged an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984, said on Sunday that the conditions of the ceasefire were no longer in place.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Davutoglu on Sunday, saying that Germany offered "solidarity and support" in the Turkish fight against IS.

Merkel also urged Davutoglu "not to give up the peace process with the Kurds but to stick to it despite all the difficulties," according to a statement from the chancellor's office.

rc/jil (AFP, Reuters)

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