Turkey Is Going Down a Highly Dangerous Path [View all]
Retaliatory strikes by Turkey against Syria on Wednesday have created an entirely new dimension to a civil war that now threatens to become a full-fledged regional conflict in the Middle East. The moves by Ankara came after shelling by Syrian forces that killed five women and children in the Turkish border town of Akcakale.
European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle have strongly criticized the shelling by Syria. And on Thursday, the United Nations Security Council overcame divisions to issue a statement condemning the shelling "in the strongest terms." The statement, which had been watered down at Russia's behest, said the incident "highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbors and on regional peace and stability."
Turkey's intensified role in the crisis is raising serious concerns that the country, a member of NATO, may ultimately drag the rest of its partners into war with Syria by invoking Article Five, which stipulates that all alliance members must come to the defense of any other member country that has been attacked.
On Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also sought to assuage concerns his country might be preparing for war. "We as Turkey just want peace and security in our region," he told reporters. "The consequences of war are plain to see in Iraq and Afghanistan."