ISTANBUL- Turkey has deployed a large number of military vehicles to the Syrian border, daily Milliyet reported.
While NATO meeting on Tuesday netted some strong words, the Secretary General of NATO made it clear that chapter 5, the part of the treaty with teeth, was never mentioned. This means that without another incident, there is currently zero chance of NATO action against Syria.
Interestingly, however, Turkey seems to be taking no chances. According to Turkish media, the military is sending a convoy of troops to the border:
The shipment included 15 armored tanks, in addition to long-distance guns and other military vehicles. The convoy was heavily guarded as it moved toward the border in the event of an attack by outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members.
Military units reportedly increased security measures on the border following recent events that have strained bilateral relations.
Relations between Turkey and Syria, which share a long border, have soured since a widespread revolt broke out against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad early last year.
- June 2011: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the first time accuses Assad's regime of committing "atrocities" in putting down the revolt.
Large numbers of Syrians begin flocking across the border to escape the violence. By mid-month Turkey says it is sheltering 8,000 Syrians, many of whom are housed in tent cities just within its territory.
- August 9: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visits Damascus and calls on Assad to end the repression.
- September 21: Erdoğan meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in New York. The Turkish leader says his country has broken off contacts with the Syrian regime and is planning to enact sanctions against it.
- October 2: Syrian opposition leaders meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul announce the creation of a broad-based Syrian National Council.
- October 4: The Turkish news agency Anatolia says Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad, who defected from Syria's army in July, has set up a Free Syrian Army operating out of Turkey.
- November 12-13: Pro-regime protesters in Syria attack Turkish diplomatic missions.
- November 30: Turkey says it is cutting trade relations with Syria.
- March 15, 2012: A Turkish official says Syria has laid landmines along the common border to prevent its citizens fleeing. The next day, Turkey advises its nationals to leave Syria.
- March 26: Turkey closes its embassy in Damascus.
- April 1: Istanbul hosts a meeting of the "Friends of Syria", an informal grouping of mainly Western and Arab states.
- April 9: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, says Syrian forces have fired across the border into Turkey at camps housing refugees from the violence.
- April 10: Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who is mediating in the crisis, visits refugees in Turkey.
- May 30: Turkey, as well as Japan, says it is expelling Syrian diplomats from its territory.
- June 22: Syria shoots down a Turkish fighter plane near the joint border. Turkey requests a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which it is a member.
- June 25: The Anatolia news agency says a Syrian army general has defected and crossed into Turkey, taking the total number of such defectors to 13.
- Tuesday, June 26: Turkish prime minister declares Syria a "clear and present danger" for Turkey. All Syrian military vehicles approaching the Turkish border are to be considered a threat from this day on.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan threatened Tuesday that Turkey will not remain speechless towards what is happening in the region.
“Turkey does not have any ambitions in the region. Turkey is friendly country, but it gets gravely angry.” Turkish PM Erdogan told a NATO meeting on downing the Turkish Jet on Friday.
“Another Turkish reconnaissance jet was targeted by Syria yesterday.” Erdogan added.
Relations between Turkey and Syria, which share a 565-mile border, started to dissolve last year when Turkish officials began to criticize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for refusing to end the crackdown against domestic opposition to his regime.