On April 11 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters accompanying him to China that Turkey is considering asking the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization to invoke its Article 5 collective military assistance clause against Syria after a reported brief cross-border skirmish between Syrian military forces and what were identified as refugees, whether armed or otherwise remains unclear. Turkey unabashedly provides refuge for and, though not publicly acknowledged, assistance to thousands of Free Syrian Army fighters in its south.
The Turkish head of state insisted that “NATO has a responsibility to protect Turkish borders,” in what could only be interpreted as an allusion to the military bloc's founding document provision mentioned above, the bulk of which states:
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