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NATO To Meet At Turkey's Request

  • RFE/RL

NATO says it will hold emergency talks on July 28 to discuss Turkey's security operations against both Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants, as the country presses ahead with air strikes in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The alliance said in a statement that Turkey had requested a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which includes the ambassadors of all 28 NATO allies.

It said the consultations had been scheduled "in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days."

"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's state-run media reported late on July 26 that Turkish jets had taken off again to hit Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets across the border in northern Iraq.

There was no immediate confirmation of the report, which came hours after authorities said PKK militants detonated a car bomb near Diyarbakir, killing two soldiers and wounding four others.

The Turkish Army has been targeting IS locations in Syria for three days straight.

It has also pounded the positions of PKK militants in northern Iraq, themselves bitterly opposed to the jihadists, putting in jeopardy a truce that has largely held since 2013.

The strikes came in response to an IS suicide bombing near Turkey's border with Syria that left 32 people dead on July 20.

A Turkish soldier was killed on July 23 in a separate IS attack on Turkish forces.

Turkish security forces have rounded up at least 590 suspected members of IS, the PKK, and other militant groups across the country in recent days on the grounds that they pose a threat to the state.

The White House has staunchly backed the Turkish offensive.

On July 26, it praised Ankara for what it described as its "increased focus and accelerated efforts" against IS.

The White House also said Turkey had the right to defend itself against attacks by Kurdish rebels, which the United States has designated as a terrorist group.

The U.S. military said the United States and its allies had carried out 20 air strikes against IS militants in Iraq on July 25, mostly near Ramadi.

The Combined Joint Task Force said it had also conducted 13 strikes in Syria.

NATO itself is not involved in operations against the IS group, although many of its members are.

As an alliance, however, NATO is committed to helping defend Turkey.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP