President Donald Trump, accompanied by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Evan Vucci/AP
If the US attacked Turkey, it would have major implications for the historic NATO alliance.
Russia could benefit from a US attack on Turkey
NATO’s core principle, Article 5, is that an attack on one member is an attack on all. An attack from one NATO member on another would therefore put the alliance in a paradoxical situation.
NATO was originally founded at the start of the Cold War to counter the Soviet Union, and its purpose has evolved over time. But it continues to serve as a deterrent to Russian aggression in Europe, particularly after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Hence, if NATO collapsed or if the alliance was put under major strains then it would be advantageous to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Further complicating any potential military action against Turkey by the US is the fact there are roughly 50 nuclear weapons — B61 gravity bombs — that are stored by the US at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. In a break from protocol, Trump seemed to confirm the existence of these weapons last week.