World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey has stationed armored vehicles and heavy weapons at its Syrian border after the government received a mandate last week from Parliament approving military operations in foreign countries. The move comes on the heels of a Syrian mortar attack which left five civilians dead in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on Oct. 3.
Two-hundred and fifty tanks were deployed in locations in the Şanlıurfa, Mardin and Gaziantep provinces after the government ordered the military's readiness for a possible clash with Syrian forces. Artillery units were also sent to the region.
Turkey scrambled two fighter planes to the border with Syria on Friday after a Syrian military helicopter bombed the Syrian border town of Azmarin, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed witness.
The deployment seeks to tighten security at the border with Syria, prevent infiltration by members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and to represent a timely response to aggression from Syria that may be seen as attempting to drag Turkey into a full-scale war. Currently, the Turkish government has indicated no plans for an incursion into the conflict-hit country.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have bolstered their presence along the 900-kilometer border with Syria in recent days and have been responding in kind to gunfire and shelling spilling across from the south, where Assad's forces have been battling opponents who control swathes of territory in the region. Last week, after deadly cross-border shelling, Ankara warned Assad that it will respond to each shell or mortar round that hits Turkish soil. Due to the largely flat terrain on the Turkish-Syrian border, the Land Forces Command has a larger share of responsibility in securing the border.
Air bases in Diyarbakır and Malatya are also on alert. Maintenance work at the Diyarbakır military airport was completed, allowing 15 F-16 airplanes sent from Çanakkale, Konya and Amasya to land at the airport with no complications on Wednesday. Military sources say these jets were sent in case of an attack by Syria. The number of military jets sent so far to the 2nd Air Force Command in Diyarbakır has risen to 55.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel vowed on Wednesday to give a “harsher response” to Syria if shelling from the neighboring country continues to spill over the border. Özel said the Turkish military had instantly launched retaliatory strikes after the Syrian shell struck Akçakale. "We responded, but if it continues we will respond with greater force," Özel said of the Syrian attack. He added that the Syrian military has suffered serious damage from the Turkish strikes.
Accompanied by Land Forces Commander Gen. Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu and 2nd Army Commander Gen. Galip Mendi, Özel arrived in Akçakale early on Wednesday after inspecting troops in other towns along the Syrian border. Özel also paid a visit to offer his condolences to Ömer Timuçin, whose wife, three children and relative were killed in the Oct. 3 incident, in which a total of five were left dead and eight wounded.
Tensions remain high between Turkey and Syria over the cross-border attacks after a second shell landed in Turkey's Hatay province on Oct. 9. Although Turkey has responded to Syrian aggression with retaliatory artillery fire, no casualties have been reported on the Syrian side apart from one injury. The incident represents the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria.
Two top ranking Turkish generals resign ahead of key military meeting: report
PKK terrorists detonate device in Siirt as armored military vehicle passed by
Former second army commander Adem Huduti enters into Turkish Land Forces' service
Ban ki-moon conveys solidarity with Turkey; expects adherence to international obligations in probe of coup attempt
Mr. Fuller in his lengthy comment argues that the Gulen Movement (GM) is a civilian movement that has nothing to do with violence and political ambitions. Well, based on our experience in recent years, I would say, in the simplest words, the following: That’s what we thought so, Mr. Fuller, but it was a long time ago! It is over now, we have changed our minds dramatically in recent years about the possible real intentions and ambitions of this so called “movement.”
Total of 8,651 military personnel took party in attempted coup, or just 1.5 pct, announces Turkish General Staff
Civilians who rose up against plot meet prime minister in Ankara
Lawmakers will investigate facts surrounding July 15 coup attempt
The paper's ex-staffers are suspected of links to FETO terror organization, accused of plotting July 15 coup attempt
Justice minister says Fetullah Gulen is planning to flee US following extradition request
Main opposition leader urges Pennsylvania-based preacher's extradition from US; supports changes to constitution
Civil servants are suspended over alleged links to Gulenist organization, held responsible for coup attempt
Operations, missions will continue at base in south Turkey
Binali Yildirim reacts to European Commission president's warnings on death penalty
Turkey's relations with Russia and Israel will contribute to region's stability, says Turkey's energy minister
Devlet Bahceli says Turkey-US relations face 'serious problems' over Gulen extradition demands