Turkey Tells Syria: We're Close to War

But analysts doubt PM Erdogan will go that far
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2012 4:44 PM CDT
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(Newser) – After two days of shelling Syria, Turkey rattled its sabers today with a warning that full-out war was around the corner, Reuters reports. "We are not interested in war, but we're not far from war either," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a crowd in Istanbul. "Those who attempt to test Turkey's deterrence ... I say here they are making a fatal mistake." Turkey also told Syria to stay 6 miles away from the border and ordered several Syrian warplanes to turn back after getting too close, according to a Turkish news site.

The Atlantic rounds up reactions, noting that Reuters called Erdogan's speech "belligerent" and the Guardian described it as "muscular." A Turkish anti-war blogger wrote that Erdogan's support will slide "if he becomes more hardline." Analyzing the conflict on YNet, Ron Ben-Yishai writes that Erdogan had to get aggressive because Turkish civilians were killed. But a war would destabilize Syria and allow "al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist elements" to take advantage "of the lack of governance in Syria to turn it into a terror base—like in Sinai and Somalia." (Read more Turkey stories.)

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