NATO to Meet at Turkey's Request

Ambassadors of NATO states will meet on Tuesday for talks on violence between Turkey, ISIS and the Kurds.

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NATO (illustration)
NATO (illustration)
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Ambassadors of NATO states will meet on Tuesday at Ankara's request for talks on a spike in violence between Turkey, the Islamic State group and PKK Kurdish militants, the military alliance said Sunday.

"Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days, and also to inform Allies of the measures it is taking," the NATO statement said, according to the AFP news agency.

"NATO Allies follow developments very closely and stand in solidarity with Turkey," it added.

Ankara invoked a clause from NATO's founding treaty that allows any member to request a meeting of all 28 NATO ambassadors "whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened."

Turkey has launched a two-pronged cross-border offensive against Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a wave of violence in the country, pounding their positions with air strikes and artillery.

The expansion of the campaign to include not just ISIS targets in Syria but PKK rebels in neighboring northern Iraq -- themselves bitterly opposed to the jihadists -- has put in jeopardy a truce with the Kurdish militants that has largely held since 2013.

Defense officials said on Thursday that Turkey had agreed to expand its cooperation with the United states in the fight against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal and Turkish dailies Zaman and Hurriyet reported that Turkey will allow the U.S. military to launch airstrikes against the fighters from Incirlik Air Base in eastern Turkey.

Under the agreement, the military will be allowed to use manned and unmanned aircraft based in Turkey to hit targets in Syria, according to The Wall Street Journal.