US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The tension between Russia and Ukraine presents Turkey with a difficult choice, the author writes. The reason is the NATO mission, the leadership of which Turkey took over from Poland at the beginning of this year and will carry out it for a year. Will Turkey transfer forces to defend Ukraine, which is in the status of a “NATO partner” but is not included in the “ally” category?
The tension between Russia and Ukraine presents Turkey with a very important and equally difficult choice.
The reason is the NATO mission, the leadership of which Turkey took over from Poland earlier this year and will carry out during the year …
In this regard, the mission of the Joint High-Readiness Task Force (JTG), which is part of the NATO Response Force, was entrusted to the 66th Mechanized Brigade of Turkey, stationed in Thrace.
Along with 4.2 thousand servicemen of the 66th brigade, the group will also include units from Albania, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Great Britain and the United States, while the total number of military personnel will reach 6, 4 thousand.
Command by Turkey
Turkey will be in command of these forces throughout the year.
The goal of creating these forces is also important … First of all, the prevention of destabilizing actions by Russia in relation to Ukraine and Georgia.
In response to increased Russian pressure on the Caucasus and the Balkans, the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014 decided to create the GSPG as an operational response force in order to improve the potential to counter possible risks and threats from Russia, the Middle East and North Africa.
In this regard, Turkey has strengthened the structure of the 66th brigade, made major investments primarily in planning needs in the field of logistics and ammunition, and also modernized anti-tank missile systems and armored vehicles.
In 2019, this NATO group was led by Germany, and in 2020 by Poland.
Article 5 of NATO Treaty in Force?
Now let’s move on to the main question …
Russia has recently increased its pressure on Ukraine, and statements from Moscow show that, if necessary, they can enter some regions.
What will NATO do in response to such a step after Crimea? Will he again confine himself to diplomatic rhetoric and actions at the negotiating table, or will he transfer forces to defend Ukraine, which is in the status of a “NATO partner” but is not included in the “ally” category?
I will once again emphasize here a point requiring special attention: Ukraine is a NATO partner, but not an ally … In other words, it does not fall under the notorious Article 5 of the NATO treaty and the principle of “one for all, all for one.”
However, NATO at every step spoke about the protection of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia, clearly stated its position against the negative impact on their sovereignty and independence.
In addition, the Minsk Group, formed in 2014 within the OSCE, as well as the Normandy format, which, along with Russia, includes Germany and France, were also created to prevent such actions.
In accordance with the Vienna Document of the OSCE, military activities involving 9,000 people are subject to notification, and if the number of military personnel exceeds 13,000, observers must be invited. However, Moscow not only does not comply with this, but also ignored 496 violations recorded by the monitoring mission on the Ukrainian border in one day.
Decisive EU stance
In this regard, at the Munich Security Conference, both German Chancellor Merkel, French President Macron, and US President Biden made it clear that they would not remain silent in response to the encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And recently they even once again reaffirmed this determination.
Turkey, although in most cases experiences problems with NATO and members of the alliance in the military sphere in the Middle East or other regions, in the Caucasus and the Black Sea did not show the slightest difference in position. Acted together with NATO and at every step expressed sensitivity towards Crimea.
What happens in case of an exacerbation
What will happen if the Ukrainian process aggravates? Indeed, just last week, the interception of suddenly activated Russian aircraft, along with NATO member countries, was carried out by air force fighters flying from Turkey.
If Russia goes one step further, what will NATO do?
What will Ankara do in such a situation, especially at a time when NATO’s Joint High-Readiness Task Force is under its command?
For this, a transfer of forces will be carried out, what will be decided first?
Or is it enough for NATO to issue an order to the commander of the response force in Brussels?
These are the questions I pose to retired Ambassador Tacan Ildem, who has successfully represented Turkey in NATO for many years.
He began by emphasizing two points. First of all, the diplomat recalled that Ukraine is a partner of NATO, but not an ally … Although NATO fixes its sensitivity regarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, forces are not being transferred to restore it, but other diplomatic mechanisms are being created. Ildem stressed that NATO did not recognize the annexation of Crimea, but reacted verbally.
There is support, but the transfer of forces is hardly possible
Noting that Moscow has not participated in the Russia-NATO format for some time, the diplomat continued: “NATO has contributed to the development of the naval forces of Ukraine and Georgia. Visited ports. Increased the visibility of the alliance there. Also helped to improve the defense capability. In 2008, during the intervention of Russia, Georgia was unable to use the 5th article of NATO. However, there is strong support from NATO allies in the form of statements. All this is also reflected in NATO declarations. I don’t think there will be a transfer of forces …”
Now on April 12, the President of Ukraine will visit Turkey. It is still difficult to predict how events will develop … However, let’s also not forget about the tacit agreement that has been in effect until now between Turkey and Russia: “We agreed not to come to an agreement …”
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