Friday, October 5, 2012

Turkey says it doesn’t want war with Syria

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a
news conference in Ankara on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country does not plan to wage any war against Syria after the Turkish parliament gave the nod for military operations outside the country.

"We have no intention of starting a war with Syria," Erdogan said in a joint press conference with the visiting Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi in Ankara on Thursday.

Turkey is not a warmongering country while we have witnessed the consequences of warmongering policies near our borders in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

He noted that the cross-border mandate was meant to serve as an "active deterrent" in the face of the escalating spillover of violence into his country’s territories.

Earlier on Thursday, the Turkish parliament approved a motion authorizing military operations outside the country's borders "when deemed necessary" after mortars fired from Syria killed five people in southeastern Turkey.

Shortly after the approval, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the mandate was not a declaration of war and that the decision would have a deterrent effect.

The Turkish premier further said that Ankara has the military might and capability to protect its national sovereignty and borders.

Tehran and Ankara hold common talks on ways to resolve the Syrian issue, he added, noting that both the Iranian and Turkish governments have given the mandate to their foreign ministers to reach a particular conclusion on the issue at the earliest.

Also on Thursday, anti-war demonstrators gathered outside the parliament building in Ankara after Turkish forces reportedly killed several Syrian soldiers in an attack on a military post near the border town of Tel Abyad in Syria. “We don't want war!” and “The Syrian people are our brothers!” the protesters chanted.

The Turkish government said the attack was in retaliation for the mortar strike that killed five people in the country's town of Akcakale on Wednesday.

Damascus has been blaming certain Western and regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, for backing the March 2011-present insurgency in Syria that has claimed the lives of many people in the Arab country, including security and Army personnel.

In July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Turkish daily Cumhuriyet that Ankara “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists, who have killed our people.”

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