Turkey: Thousands Protest in Istanbul Against War on Syria

Turkey's military has attacked Syrian targets in response to the killing of five Turkish civilians by Syrian government forces. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office issued a statement immediately afterwards, saying:

Our armed forces in the border region responded immediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules of engagement; targets were struck through artillery fire against places in Syria identified by radar.

The Turkish parliament has passed a year-long mandate which approves cross-border military action. The motion was passed by 320 votes in the 550-seat Turkish parliament.

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister has said in a statement that authorising the use of force in Syria does not amount to a declaration of war, but acts as a preventive measure. This was followed by a statement from Turkey's Prime Minister, who said:

All we want in this region is peace and security. We have no intention of starting war. We are aware of the outcome, consequences, of war in Iraq and Afghanistan … we see the same in Syria.

The state-run Syrian News Agency (SANA) released an immediate statement saying Syrian authorities are offering sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and the Turkish people.

More than 5,000 protesters took to the streets of Istanbul against a possible war with Syria. On Thursday night, the demonstration was against AK party, protesters chanted:

The AKP wants war, the people want peace. No to war, peace right now.

Cherine Atalla tweeted this picture from the protest, which reads “Hands off Syria”:

A sign at the Istanbul anti-war protest which reads Hands off Syria, shared by @Cherine_89 on Twitter. Reposted with permission.

In Turkey, the slogan Savasa hayir, which means “no to war,” became top trending topic among Twitter users on Thursday morning. And since the cross-border military action mandate has been approved, social networks have been divided on the issue, creating a firestorm of opinions from activists, pundits and the like.

From Turkey, Hulya Ataoglu tweeted:

@cramelin: #savasahayir #notowar No to war, not now, not ever.

Ozgur Gurbuz, from Istanbul, says:

@ozzgurbuz: Peace is the only way #noWar #savasahayir from Istanbul. Getting more and more here.

Thousands protest against war on Syria in Istanbul

Thousands protest against war on Syria in Istanbul. Photo shared by @zappika on Twitter

And Sarper Ere tweets a picture above from the protest against war with Syria, commenting “Peace at home, peace at world”.


  • Thank you for this important and under-reported coverage. The government of Turkey is becoming ever more menacing to Syria and now finally has its long-awaited excuse to invade Syria (with U.S. weapons and with U.S. ally Qatar). Hope is in the Turkish people’s resistance to spilling the blood of their Muslim sisters and brothers.

    Maybe one day Americans will care half as much about Muslims–before over 1 million civilians are killed, like in Iraq. The anti-war movement in the U.S. needs to step it up over it up over its governments constant attempts at regime change and deciding other countries futures. Iran is one of the world’s most literate populations, let Iranians IN IRAN decide their country’s future.

  • […] in Australia as well. There have in the past been protests in Turkey against a war in Syria (see here, here, and here) with one seemingly planned. Kevin Ovenden of the Stop the War Coalition […]

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