Turkey authorizes military operations after Syria attack

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Turkish border units shelled targets in Syria for a second consecutive day Thursday, a day after Syrian mortar shells hit a Turkish border town, killing five civilians.

The tit-for-tat retaliation came as Turkey’s parliament voted to give Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan authority to conduct military operations abroad, although Turkish analysts expected Turkish military intervention to be limited.

“Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria,” Ibrahim Kalın, a top foreign policy advisor to Erdogan, wrote on Twitter.”But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary.”

“The aggressive actions targeting our national lands are at the threshold of armed attacks,” Erdogan said in the bill submitted to parliament, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Turkish military units based in the southern Turkish border town of Akcakale ‘fired three rounds into Syria at 1:30 a.m. local time,” Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency reported, the Journal report said.

Ankara on Wednesday asked the United Nations Security Council “to take necessary action to put an end to such acts of aggression,” Turkey’s UN envoy Ertugrul Apakan wrote in a letter to the 15-member body, Reuters reported.

NATO strongly condemned the Syrian attack on member Turkey. But NATO officials emerging from an emergency meeting in Brussels Wednesday did not expect further action by the alliance at this time. “The Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law,” a statement from the 28-member alliance said.

Syria had as yet provided Turkey no explanation for the border incident Wednesday, wire reports said.

(Photo:  Men stood outside a house in Akcakale, Turkey that damaged by a Syrian mortar October 3, 2012. Reuters)

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