Turkey Permits Troops to Enter Syria, But Not Planning War

Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Neeraj Singh

The ongoing crisis between Turkey and Syria has reached new heights in recent days, culminating with an authorization from the Turkish parliament for troops to enter Syria if necessary. According to Turkey’s Today’s Zaman publication, the resolution to allow Turkish troops to be sent “abroad” passed broadly on Wednesday but with outspoken opposition. The move comes after five Turkish civilians were killed by mortar fire from Syria.

However, the Turkish ruling party attempted to downplay the implications of the parliamentary step by saying they were not seeking a conflict with Syria. Ibrahim Kalin, identified by Today’s Zaman as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said on Twitter, “Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary.”

The spokesperson for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Huseyin Celik, expressed to reporters a similar sentiment that was published on the party’s website. “I want to remind the Turkish citizens that they should not be in a panic about a possible war,” said Celik. The website paraphrased him as saying that the resolution to enter Syria was “not about a war.”

The neighboring countries have had tense relations over the brutal crackdown by the Syrian regime against the Syrian opposition. That protest movement has since become an armed conflict between the Syrian authorities and rebel forces across the country, including near the border with Turkey.

The situation has worsened with multiple border incidents, including claims from Turkey that Syria downed one of their planes outside Syrian airspace.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 4, 2012)