Erdogan: Turkey Does Not Intend to Attack Syria
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that Ankara has no intention of attacking Syria over its recent downing of a fighter jet.
"As Turkey, the Turkish nation, we have no intention of attacking" Syria, Erdogan said on the same day that Ankara deployed troops on its Syrian frontier.
"We don't have any hostile intent towards any country," added Erdogan.
Turkey branded Syria "a clear and imminent threat" on Tuesday as Erdogan vented his fury over last week's downing of the Turkish jet over the eastern Mediterranean. The two-man crew are still missing.
Erdogan was a close friend and ally to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before the now-16 month popular uprising against the former's rule erupted in March 2011.
However, relations between Ankara and Damascus have become increasingly strained as more than 33,000 Syrian refugees have crossed the border into Turkey.
UN officials say some 10,000 people – most of them civilians – have been killed in Assad's brutal crackdown on opposition to his rule. Diplomats say the actual number is probably much higher.