Updated: 24-Feb-2003 February 2003

19 Feb. 2003


NATO to deploy defensive assistance to Turkey

On 19 February, NATO’s top defence committee authorised Alliance military authorities to deploy NATO AWACS aircraft, as well as missile and chemical and biological defences to Turkey.

The decision follows the Defence Planning Committee’s decision of 16 February, which tasked the NATO military authorities to undertake planning for the three possible defensive missions to protect Turkey:

  • deployment of NATO Airborne Early Warning Aircraft (AWACS) aircraft;
  • NATO support for the deployment of theatre missile defences for Turkey;
  • NATO support for possible deployment of Allied chemical and biological defences.

The plans were reviewed and approved by the Committee at its session on 19 February. They will now be implemented as a matter of urgency.

Searching for consensus

The decision is the result of intense consultations, which began on 10 February, when Turkey invoked Article 4 of the NATO’s founding treaty. This article states that Allies will consult together “whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any NATO country is threatened.”

Defensive measures

“I am happy to announce that we have been able – collectively – to overcome the impasse we have faced for the past few days,” said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson at a press conference on 16 February. “These measures are intended to provide Turkey solely with defensive assistance.”

The Defence Planning Committee (DPC) provides guidance to NATO's military authorities on matters relating to the defence of the Alliance. It is made up of the 18 NATO Allies, which are part of the Alliance’s integrated military structure. France is a member of NATO, but withdrew from the integrated military structure in 1966 and therefore is not a member of the DPC.

Additional information:

  • Background with links to press conference, audio files and high resolution photos.
  • NATO Multimedia: High resolution photos of AWACS aircrafts