In what could lead to a rapid escalation of the Syria trigger for thermonuclear confrontation, the Turkish Parliament passed a bill allowing the Turkish military to conduct operations inside Syria if it deems it necessary, following the death of five Turkish civilians who were killed when a mortar shell fired from Syria fell inside the Turkish side of the border. The Turkish government has blamed Syria for the bombing.
The bill was supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party, and by the National Movement party, which is not in the government. The leading opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), voted against the measure, warning that it was in effect a "declaration of war."
Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said, "This motion is to allow Turkey to defend its interests, and to use it if the need arises in the future," Atalay said. "It has a deterrent nature."
Ibrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, said, "Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary. Political, diplomatic initiatives will continue."
Deputy Muharrem Ince (CHP) called the resolution unconstitutional, because the attacks from the Syrian territory are described as "bordering on armed attacks" and that this is not a case in which international law would legitimize a declaration of a war. "So, there is no armed attack [in the proper sense]. This resolution is incompatible with Article 92 of the Constitution," said Ince, who concluded, "Don't put Turkey into trouble."
Syrian Information Minister Umran al-Zuabi has told Syrian state television that the authorities are investigating the shelling and that Syrian authorities are looked into it "with seriousness." He also called the killed Turkish citizens "martyrs" and offered his condolences to the Turkish nation. Al-Zuabi underlined the existence of armed militias around the border region and said such a danger should be taken seriously.
Turkish artillery reportedly renewed shelling of targets near Syria's Tel Abyad border town yesterday, killing several Syrian soldiers, according to activists and security sources.