Turkish PM Erdogan says Turkey does not want war
ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Turkey has no intention of going to war with Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today, hours after the Parliament in Ankara authorized possible cross-border attacks against the Arab republic.
"We have no intention of starting a war with Syria," Erdoğan said at a press conference amid anger over Syrian shelling that killed five Turkish citizens – a mother, three of her children and another woman – in the border town of Akçakale yesterday. But he noted that Turkey had the might to protect its nationals and borders if needed.
"No country should dare test our determination on that," he warned. His comments came as the Turkish military amassed tanks and anti-aircraft missiles in Akçakale.
It was not the first time Damascus had shelled Turkish territory before branding it "an accident," according to Erdoğan, who claimed that Turkey was previously hit seven times by Syrian mortars.
"Even today we had a shell landing in Altınözü district in [the Mediterranean province of] Hatay," he said. "One time is an accident ... but how is this an accident, when it happens eight times?"
Yesterday’s deadly strike triggered sporadic shelling from the Turkish side, with Turkish artillery hitting unspecified targets inside Syria in response.
Turkish fire ceased early earlier this morning.