Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has told his country to prepare for war against Syria relying on an unproven shelling that landed in Turkey from Syrian territory.
The Turkish military has fired mortar shells into Syria for the fourth day in a row after a number of projectiles slammed into the southern border province of Hatay.
Press TV has interviewed Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal, about the recent steps Turkey has taken and how the plan for NATO involvement inside Syria may unfold.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Five days of military strikes and now the Turkish prime minister is calling on his country to prepare for war.
With the way things have gone so far, would Turkey had come to this regardless of the mortar that fell in from Syria?
Chossudovsky: Well, this has been a hidden agenda for quite some time. The war on Syria is already de-facto because Turkey is supporting the Free Syrian Army; it's training the rebels; it's allowing for the influx of mercenaries through its territory; it is providing logistics to the terrorists inside Syria; and it has Special Forces also within Syrian territory.
And I should say that the military high command has concern that it's supporting the Muslim Brotherhood as well involved in insurrection. So the war is de-facto.
The incident is being used as a pretext when in fact even according to the Western media, we do not know who is behind this shelling incident inside Turkish territory.
The Ankara government blames Damascus; it blames the Syrian armed forces, but if you look at some of the press reports emanating from the New York times on the one hand and the German media, there is absolutely no proof that these shots were actually done by the Syrian governmental forces.
And they could have been done by the Free Syrian Army. They could also be used deliberately as a pretext to enable Turkey to proceed to the next phase of this war.
Now what is also of course very disturbing is the fact that Turkey as a member of NATO may well invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all members. It's the doctrine of collective security and this might be the first step for a NATO involvement.
Press TV: That leads me to my next question, do you think that through this escalation of this conflict we are going to see direct NATO involvement, because we are already getting reports that NATO artillery and weapons are already being used by the Turkish military in their shelling?
Chossudovsky: Well, it's clear that Turkey is already involved. Turkey is already involved inside Syria.
Now what I think is possible is that Turkey is going to demand the formation of some kind of a buffer zone, which essentially means the occupation of certain border areas of Syria. This has been on the drawing boards of military planners for quite some time. Turkey has territorial aspirations as far as Syria is concerned. But it is more than that.
The coast line, which links Turkey to Lebanon and Israel going through Syrian territory. This is also an objective, to gain control over that coastline.
In other words, we have to understand that Turkey is a major military power in the region; it is involved in the conflict; it is supporting mercenary fighters inside Syria; and there is the distinct danger of military escalation not only in terms of Turkish regular forces, which are now entering officially into Syrian territory, but also that this might extend to a subsequent NATO involvement under the doctrine of collective security.