The minute Turkey shot down the Russian jet, it ignited a chilling possibility of World War 3. What complicates the situation is that Turkey is a strong NATO ally; NATO has 28 member countries, including U.S., not to mention that Turkey is in Syria as part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the ISIS.
Russia has China, Brunei and Iran in its side of the arena. Will NATO be invoking article 5 soon? After all, the Alliance had already invoked Article 4 on Tuesday’s emergency meeting.
The Russian jet was not invading Turkey’s space, Russian president Vladimir Putin upheld. It was down because Russia found that ISIS had been moving large amounts of oil and petroleum products to Turkey. “This explains the significant funding the terrorists are receiving,” Mr. Putin said in a statement as previously reported by Morning News USA. The president had deployed its guided missile destroyer and instructed men to destroy all potential threat without warning.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other hand, remained adamant that the Russian jet invaded Turkey’s airspace, CNN reported. The president said the jet was needed to be dealt with because it “did not answer our warning.” Furthermore, the jet was allegedly bombing an area where Turkmen were. And anyone who attacked that area attacks “our brother and sisters,” Mr. Erdogan was quoted as saying in Ankara.
If Russia, in retaliation attacks Turkey, NATO could invoke the Article 5. It states that “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all allies.”
In the height of the tensions, NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, had already invoked Article 4 with an emergency meeting that took place on Nov. 24. Article 4 states that “all NATO decisions are made by consensus, after discussion and consultation among member countries.”
“As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO Ally, Turkey,” Stoltenberg said in a speech addressing the Alliance’s founding members. He was asked by media afterwards whether he considers Mr. Putin’s claim that the jet was not violating Turkey’s space. Stoltenberg upheld, “The Allied assessments we have got from several Allies during the day are consistent with information we have been provided with from Turkey. So the information we have from other Allies is consistent with what we have got from Turkey.”
The Article 5, which is tantamount to declaring war, binds NATO members together with the commitment to protect each other and with the spirit of solidarity with all member countries. NATO had invoked Article 5 for the first time in history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was also invoked against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
The downing of the Russian jet by Turkey took place at a vulnerable time when relations between NATO and Russia are at its worse since the Cold War. It also happened at a time when there had been so much friction between U.S. and Russia.