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Erdogan Vows Turkey Will Stay Out of Syria's 'Quagmire'

  • VOA News

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Istanbul, May 12, 2013.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Istanbul, May 12, 2013.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to stay out of Syria's civil war, a day after a double car bombing struck a Turkish town near the Syrian border, killing at least 46 people.

Speaking Sunday in Istanbul, Erdogan said Turkey will remain level-headed in the face of provocations aimed at dragging it into what he called the "Syrian quagmire."

The Turkish government said authorities detained nine Turkish citizens in connection with Saturday's attack in Reyhanli and suspect them of having links to Syria's intelligence service. Senior officials told a news conference that the detainees include the attack's alleged mastermind and planners, some of whom confessed.

Earlier Sunday, Syria's information minister denied his government was involved in the bombings. Omran al-Zoubi said the Turkish government was responsible because it has turned its border region into a shelter for "terrorists" -- the Syrian government's term for rebels fighting to end President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the U.N. Security Council to take action to stop the Syrian conflict. Speaking on a visit to Berlin, he said the international community's inability to act has enabled a "spark to transform into a fire."

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings. Reyhanli is located in Turkey's Hatay province, which hosts a large number of Syrian refugees from the war. Residents of the province staged several protests on Sunday, denouncing the lack of security along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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