Among other things, Matt Gurney doesn’t seem to understand that Turkey doesn’t want to go to war with Syria:
Such incidents present the risk of a rapid escalation into open war. Should that occur, Turkey would have reasonable grounds to call for military assistance from its NATO allies, including Canada and the U.S. There is clearly no appetite among the Western nations for military intervention in Syria’s sectarian conflict, yet if an ally calls for help and NATO refuses, the credibility of the entire alliance is called into question.
Unless Syria launches a major attack on Turkey, the “credibility” of NATO isn’t involved at all. NATO is not obliged to support members’ wars unless it is part of collective defense in response to an attack. Turkey isn’t interested in escalating the war for reasons I explained earlier today, and the Syrian regime has no incentive to do so. Turkey would have grounds to call upon its allies only if it came under attack, and it would still be up to the other members of the alliance to agree or refuse to help.
To date, the incidents between Syria and Turkey have been unfortunate but very minor. More to the point, the Turkish government has not yet invoked Article V in response to any of these incidents, and even if it did so the other members of NATO are not obliged to take action unless the alliance as a whole endorses it. Most NATO members wanted no part of a war in Libya, and none of them wants to be involved in a Syrian war.
It would be reasonable for many NATO governments to see Turkey’s problems with Syria as the product of Ankara’s decision to stir up a hornets’ nest by lending support to Syrian opposition forces. They are unlikely to believe that they are under any obligation to help Erdogan with the consequences of his actions. There won’t be any “token” displays of support, because no one else will support Turkey in the event that it went to war with Syria. It’s largely because Turkey cannot even expect “token” support from NATO that it isn’t going to war with Syria, since there is very little domestic support for unilateral Turkish military action.