Turkey not at war with Syria, Ankara says

Oct. 4, 2012 at 10:02 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A decision by Turkish lawmakers to permit a military response to mortar fire from Syrian forces is an act of deterrence not war, a leader said.

By a vote of 320-129, members of the Turkish Parliament voted to allow military retaliation against a Syrian mortar strike across the border Wednesday that left five Turkish civilians dead.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Ergodan signed the measure that states the ongoing crisis in Syria is a threat to national security.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was quoted by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman as saying the measure wasn't a declaration of war.

"This is not a motion for war but a measure for deterrence," he said.

NATO, in a statement, said it stood by Turkey as a member state. The "aggressive acts" by the Syrian military, the alliance said, was a flagrant breach of international law that represented a "clear-and-present" danger to an allied state.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about the escalation of the Syrian conflict.

"The secretary-general has repeatedly warned that the ongoing militarization of the conflict in Syria is leading to tragic results for the Syrian people," a statement from Ban's spokesman read.

Ankara has received no response from Damascus over the border incident.

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