Erdogan: Turkey Does Not Want to Start War With Syria

Turkish artillery hit targets on Syria border for the second day on Thursday, after mortar fire from Syria killed five; Turkey's parliament authorized military operations outside Turkish borders if necessary.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey would never want to start a war and parliament had authorized foreign deployment of troops as a deterrent after the fatal Syrian shelling of southeast Turkey.

"We could never be interested in something like starting a war," Erdogan told reporters at a news conference.

"The Turkish Republic is a state capable of defending its citizens and borders. Nobody should try and test our determination on this subject," he added.

Turkey's parliament gave authorization earlier on Thursday for military operations outside Turkish borders if the government deemed them necessary. The authorization came a day after artillery shelling from Syria killed five civilians in a Turkish town.

The government had sought parliamentary approval to send soldiers to foreign countries in a memorandum which said that "aggressive action" by Syria's armed forces against Turkish territory posed a serious threat to national security.

Turkish artillery hit targets near Syria's Tel Abyad border town for a second day on Thursday, killing several Syrian soldiers according to activists and security sources, after the mortar fire from Syria. The developments were the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria.

On Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for Syria and Turkey to make efforts to ease the tension along their joint border, while the U.S. said that Turkey's response to the Syrian mortar fire was appropriate, proportionate and designed to deter any future violations of its sovereignty by Syria.

Syria apologized through the United Nations on Thursday for the mortar fire, and said that it would not happen again, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said.

In this Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 photo, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, and his deputies.