Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country has no plans to start a war but would act with determination to defend its citizens and borders.
The Turkish parliament has authorized the government to launch cross-border military operations as a deterrent against potential attacks from Syria for the period of one year. The authorization followed Syria’s artillery shelling of a town in southeast Turkey on Wednesday, which killed five and injured 11 civilians.
“We could never be interested in something like starting a war,” Erdogan told reporters late on Thursday.
But he warned: “The Turkish Republic is a state capable of defending its citizens and borders. Nobody should try and test our determination on this subject.”
Turkey responded on Wednesday to Syrian attack by hitting targets near Syria’s border town of Tel Abyad from which the shelling took place.
Syria was quick to apologize for the worst border clash between the neighbors since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March 2011.
The incident threatens to further inflame tensions in the region and fueled fears that the violent conflict in Syria may drag other countries into a regional war.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Turkey and Syria on Thursday to exercise “maximum restraint” to avoid the escalation.
The UN Security Council has drafted a resolution condemning the Syrian shelling "in the strongest terms", calling it a "violation of international law".