(ANKARA, Turkey) — Turkey’s leader sought to cool down the talk of war after his country retaliated against Syria following errant mortar fire that killed a mother and her children.
Following its shelling of Syrian targets across the border, the Turkish parliament authorized military action inside Syria, the most ominous sign yet the 19-month conflict could potentially destabilize the entire region.
However, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on Thursday that the authorization was only meant as a deterrence and that Turkey doesn’t want to get into an armed conflict with Syria.
According to Erdogan, “We want peace and security and nothing else. We could never be interested in something like starting a war.”
Yet, he added ominously, “The Turkish Republic is a state capable of defending its citizens and borders. Nobody should try and test our determination on this subject.”
In fact, the authorization allows Turkey to send its troops onto Syrian soil and conduct strikes against targets for one year.
The two countries are at odds over the Syrian conflict, with Erdogan having previously denounced President Bashar al-Assad for killing his own people to bring an end to an armed rebellion for democratic reform and the regime in Damascus blaming Turkey, the U.S. and other for fueling the crisis.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN