Turkey vows 'any measures' against Syria threats
KONYA - Agence France-Presse
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told AFP that Turkey was ready to take any measures against threats to its national security. DHA Photo
Turkey is ready to take any measures, including cross-border military operations into war-torn Syria, against threats to its national security, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu warned Wednesday.
"The Turkish republic is a powerful state and never hesitates to take any measures to protect its national security if need be," Davutoğlu told AFP in an exclusive interview.
"Any group in Syria, or the regime, should not test Turkey's determination," said the minister, speaking in his central home province of Konya.
Turkey, which backs the three-year-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and hosts many refugees, on Sunday shot down a Syrian fighter jet that it said had breached its airspace.
It has also warned it will protect a historic shrine that is under Turkish jurisdiction but located inside Syria's northern Aleppo province against threats from Islamist insurgents.
A Turkish flag flies over the Tomb of Süleyman Shah, the founder of the Seljuk Empire in Anatolia who died in 1086, and a small garrison with a symbolic number of troops is permanently stationed there.
The site, located 25 kilometres from the border, has been threatened by the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Davutoğlu accused ISIL of clashing with Free Syrian Army rebels while refraining from attacking regime forces.
He said "Turkey is ready to take any legitimate step under international law if its national security, including the area where the tomb of Süleyman Shah is situated, is threatened".