Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that Turkey would never want to start a war and parliament had authorized foreign deployment of troops as a deterrent after a deadly Syrian shelling of southeast Turkey.
“We could never be interested in something like starting a war,” Erdogan told reporters at a news conference.
“The Turkish Republic is a state capable of defending its citizens and borders. Nobody should try and test our determination on this subject,” he added, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday Damascus “is not seeking any escalation with any of its neighbors, including Turkey,” after a deadly cross-border shelling incident.
“The Syrian government has a key interest in maintaining good neighborly relations with Turkey,” Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters.
“In case of border incidents between any two neighboring countries, governments should act wisely, rationally and reasonably,” he added.
He called on the Turkish government to cooperate with Syria on controls to “prevent armed groups from infiltrating through this border” to stage attacks in Syria.
The Ambassador said a Turkish counter-strike Thursday morning against Syrian positions on the other side of the border wounded 2 Syrian military officials.
He confirmed that Damascus had presented its “deepest condolences” to Ankara for the shelling Wednesday that killed five Turkish civilians, but he added “it was not an apology.” He said that authorities were “seriously investigating the source” of these strikes.
The incident marked the first time Turkish civilians have been killed by Syrian fire since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March 2011.
Source: Al Arabiya; Reuters