by Shi Zhuying
ISTANBUL, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- How to cope with Wednesday's deadly shelling by Syria on a Turkish border town has triggered a nation-wide debate in Turkey.
After Five Turks were killed and over a score injured in Turkish southeastern Akcakale town by a mortar shell from the Syrian side of the border, Turkey launched a retaliation military operation against Syria since Wednesday night, shelling Syrian border town Tel Abyad and killing several soldiers.
Earlier Thursday, Turkey's parliament authorized troops to launch cross-border military operations against Syria after a motion was passed with 320 votes for and 129 against.
The country's main opposition parties, Republican People's Party (CHP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), voted against it. A CHP member, Muharrem Ince, criticized the motion as a clear declaration of war against Syria.
However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay contended that "This motion is to allow Turkey to defend its interests, and to use it if the need arises in the future."
Despite the parliament's approval of the motion, some analysts here said they do not think Turkey would use this motion to send troops to Syria soon.
"This cross-border motion is just a message that the Turkish government sent to Syria. It doesn't mean Turkey is going to take military actions or start a war," said Kerim Balci, a Middle East analyst and chief editor of Turkish Review.
"Turkey would wait and see if there is further attack from the Syrian side. At the same time, Turkey would protect its border by evacuating people from border towns, like Akcakale, to prevent recurrence of the tragedy," Balci told Xinhua.
Ibrahim Kalin, chief advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Turkey had no interest in waging a war against Syria, but political and diplomatic initiatives to solve the Syrian crisis would continue.
Meanwhile, Fusun Ikikardes from Turkey's TV station National Channel said, "I think the pass of the cross-border motion is a wrong gesture."
"The Turkish government should work harder to protect its own people at the border and stop supporting the Syrian opposition and militant groups. There are other more efficient measures to take to strengthen national security other than passing such a bill," Ikikardes said.
The Turkish public seems not in a mood to fight with Syria either. Protesters shouting anti-war slogans such as "We don't want war!" and "The Syrian people are our brothers!" in front of the parliament building in Ankara, while police fired tear gas to stop them.
"I don't want to see Turkey and Syria engaging in a war," Irfan Karsli, manager of a travel agency in Istanbul told Xinhua.
"My friends and I often discuss the current political situation between the two countries and we all agree that the Turkish government should not fight with Syria. First, we are neighbors, and Turkey would face serious consequence in future if waging such a war. Second, we are all Muslim countries and should not kill each other," he said, "Third, this is not our war. Certainly, the political parties in the world want to see Turkey fighting Syria since it is in their interests."
For his part, Emre Aki, a Turkish musician, thought people should calm down in regard to the cross-border bombing. "Of course, I feel sad that Turkish citizens were killed there. But we should investigate this event and find out who is behind the bombing at first, instead of being busy with preparing for the war," Aki said, concluding that "definitely, I am against the war with Syria."
"I don't believe this Akcakale incident will end in a war and I don't want to see war either," Dogan Eskinat, a researcher said.
"The next step Turkey will take is to accelerate the buffer zone program. Most Turkish people are against war with Syria, but we are supporting proper retaliation regarding to the Akcakale and jet down incidents," he added.
Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has imposed a series of sanctions, including an arms embargo, on the unrest-torn country. Bilateral relations strained even further after Syria in June reportedly shot down a Turkish military jet, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.