Erdogan 'Can't Rule Out' War between Turkey and Syria
Turkey does not want a war with Syria but cannot rule out armed conflict, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
"We do not advocate war but we are not far from it," he stated, as cited by international media.
He warned that those who are trying to put Turkey's "deterrence policy" to the test are making a "deadly mistake."
"We are not bluffing - we will stand by our course whatever it takes," Erdogan said.
He warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been struggling against an insurgency in a civil war after an attempted Arab Spring-type revolution for 1.5 years now, against "testing Turkey's patience."
Erdogan's statement comes a day after the Turkish parliament authorized military action inside Syria.
Erdogan said the authorization was purely deterrent but he also warned against doubting his country's resolve.
Lawmakers passed a bill by 320-129 vote authorizing troops to launch cross-border operations against Syria and strikes against Syrian targets for a period of one year in response to Syria's deadly shelling of a Turkish town.
The UN has condemned the attack from Syria "in the strongest terms." A statement by the Security Council called on the Syrian government to "fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors".
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