From Der Spiegel, February 19:
Putin vs. Erdogan: NATO Concerned over Possible Russia-Turkey Hostilities
In Syria, the danger of a war between Turkey and Russia is on the rise. Officials in Berlin are worried that the situation could become an uncomfortable test case for NATO while Moscow seems intent on sowing divisions within the alliance.
It was a year deep in the Cold War, a time when the world was closer to nuclear war than ever. There were myriad provocations, red lines were violated, airspace was infringed upon and a plane was shot down.
The situation was such that an accidentally fired missile or a submarine captain losing his cool would have been enough to trigger World War III. It was 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis -- an incident the current Russian prime minister finds himself reminded of today. At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, Dimitri Medvedev invoked the danger of a new Cold War. "Sometimes I think, are we in 2016 or 1962?"
Officials in Berlin have likewise been struck recently by a strange sense of déjà vu. The mood is similar to how it was at the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, a time when everyone was reading the new book from historian Christopher Clark, "The Sleepwalkers," about how Europe stumbled into World War I....
...In an effort to prevent further escalation, NATO has made it exceedingly clear to the Turkish government that it cannot count on alliance support should the conflict with Russia head up as a result of a Turkish attack.
"NATO cannot allow itself to be pulled into a military escalation with Russia as a result of the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey," says Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.Should Turkey be responsible for escalation, say officials in both Berlin and Brussels, Ankara would not be able to invoke the NATO treaty. Article 4 of the alliance's founding treaty grants member states the right to demand consultations "whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened." Turkey has already invoked this article once in the Syrian conflict. The result was the stationing of German Patriot missiles on the Syrian border in eastern Turkey.
NATO Gets Nervous
The decisive article, however, is Article 5, which guarantees that an "armed attack against one or more of (the alliance members) in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." But Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Asselborn notes that "the guarantee is only valid when a member state is clearly attacked."...MORE