World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on his people to be prepared for a possible war with neighboring Syria if it becomes necessary, the state-owned Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.
“One has to be ready for war at every moment, if it becomes necessary. If you are not ready, you are not a state and you cannot be a nation. The state that is not ready for war at any moment is not fully developed. Turkey must be ready for war no matter what," Erdoğan said in a speech on Sunday.
High tension between Turkey and Syria continues as the latter has once again struck on Turkish soil, on the fifth day since the Oct. 3 incident when Syrian mortar shells hit the Turkish border town of Akçakale in Şanlıurfa province, leaving five people dead and 13 injured. Turkey responded to the Syrian aggression with retaliatory artillery fire. No casualties were reported on the Syrian side apart from one injury.
Erdoğan urged the Syrian regime to stop the violence against its own citizens and cease shelling Turkish territory.
During a speech on Sunday Erdoğan reiterated his country's stance once more, adding that Turkey does not want war, and warned Syria not to test its determination.
"Nobody should attempt to test this nation's [Turkey's] sensitivity,” Erdoğan said adding Turkey should be ready for warfare with Syria and for that there is a memorandum in hand.
The Turkish Parliament issued a mandate on Thursday for cross-border military operations against Syria in light of the recent attacks on Turkish territory by the Syrian army.
Commenting on the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) policy on Syria, Erdoğan said that the Turkish government would continue to do whatever needs to be done in order to ensure national security.
The CHP voted against the recent motion in Parliament giving the government the authority to send troops to Syria if necessary, arguing that it does not specify in which instances this parliamentary authority could be used. However, officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said use of the mandate would be limited to Syria.
Charging that the CHP's stance on the Syria issue crosses a moral line, Erdoğan harshly criticized the main opposition party, saying it took sides with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following the Oct. 3 attack that caused deaths on Turkish territory.
Erdoğan's remarks came amidst ongoing military strikes between Turkey and Syria, with Turkey's military firing an artillery shell into Syria on Sunday days after the Oct. 3 attack. The day before, the Turkish military fired mortar shells into Syria for the fourth day in a row after a number of attacks were again made by Syria on the southern border province of Hatay.
On Friday Erdoğan cautioned Damascus not to test Turkey's “limits and determination” and said Ankara was not bluffing in saying it will not tolerate such acts. In a warning to Damascus, Erdoğan said that Turkey would not shy away from war if provoked.