Erdogan: We don't want war with Syria

Published October 4th, 2012 - 08:47 GMT

Turkey has "no intention to start a war with Syria," said Thursday the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Parliament passed a resolution authorizing the government to conduct military operations in Syria. "All we want in this region is peace and security. That is our intention. We do not intend to start a war with Syria, Erdogan said in Ankara during a joint press conference with Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi. But, the Turkish leader added, "the Turkish Republic is a state capable of defending its citizens and borders. Nobody should try to test our commitment to this issue. "

"The Syrian government has a vital interest in maintaining good neighborly relations with Turkey," said Thursday the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari. "After a border incident between the two states, governments must act wisely and efficiently," he added. Syria "does not try to escalate the situation with any of its neighbors, including Turkey," said Jaafari.

However, he urged Turkey to "cooperate in order to control the border" to prevent common "infiltration of armed groups," adding some of these groups have carried out attacks in Syria.

Meanwhile, the slogan "Savasa Hayir" ("No to War") was the most repeated on Thursday Twitter accounts across Turkey. Also an anti-war demonstration in Istanbul quickly turned into a rally against the ruling party, the AKP.

Earlier, police fired tear gas to repel a small group of anti-war protesters heading towards Parliament in Ankara, chanting "We do not want war" and "the Syrians are our brothers."

According to a survey by the Hurriyet newspaper, 60% of Turks are opposed to the deployment of military forces along the Syrian border for fear that the country will be embroiled in a conflict there.

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