“We have no intention of starting a war with Syria,” AFP quoted Erdogan as saying at a press conference in Ankara on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the Turkish parliament approved a motion authorizing military operations outside the country’s borders “when deemed necessary” after mortars fired from Syria killed five people in southeastern Turkey.
Shortly after the approval, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the mandate was not a declaration of war and that the decision would have a deterrent effect.
Also on Thursday, anti-war demonstrators gathered outside the parliament building in Ankara after Turkish forces reportedly killed several Syrian soldiers in an attack on a military post near the border town of Tel Abyad in Syria. “We don’t want war!” and “The Syrian people are our brothers!” the protesters chanted.
The Turkish government said the attack was in retaliation for the mortar strike that killed five people in the country’s town of Akcakale on Wednesday.
Damascus has been blaming certain Western and regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, for backing the March 2011-present insurgency in Syria that has claimed the lives of many people in the Arab country, including security and Army personnel.
In July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Turkish daily Cumhuriyet that Ankara “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists, who have killed our people.”