Turkey Says any Syria Measures Not Act of War But to Preserve Border Security

uuuA top aide of Tayyip Erdogan rejected accusations the Turkish president was ready to pitch the country’s armed forces into war in Syria and said any security measures it took would be intended only to secure its southern frontier.

Turkey’s main opposition leader said the “drums of war” were beating as part of an effort to bolster Erdogan’s authority after the AK Party lost its majority in polls. However, armed action across the border in Syria, where Kurdish militia and Islamist militants vie for control, would be disastrous.

Presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference Ankara was in talks with NATO allies over its border security, but it already had the necessary legal justification for moves that would preserve its border security. He gave no details.

“It is not sound to interpret measures which we have taken to secure our border with headlines like ‘Turkey is going into a war…Turkey is throwing itself into the fire’,” Kalin said.

Turkish newspapers have carried reports that the government is considering creating a buffer zone across the border, days after Erdogan said Turkey would never allow the formation of a Kurdish state along its southern borders.

“Our security measures are entirely aimed at preserving our border security,” Kalin said.

Turkey is one of the United States’ key strategic allies on the frontiers of Syria and Iraq, despite strains in recent years. America has an air base at Incirlik in southern Turkey though it is not currently used for strikes against Islamic State inside Syria.

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