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Turkey-Syria Fence

Turkey-Syria Wall

Ankara is expected to complete the construction of a 911-kilometer-long (566-mile-long) concrete wall on the Turkish-Syrian border in the first half of 2017, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik 02 November 2016. "One of the other measures we took is to ensure emergency physical border security in other words, build walls along the border as long as the geographical situation allows. We have built 268 kilometers of the wall as of now Within the first half of 2017, we wish to finalize all of the 911 kilometers of the Syrian border with physical border security," Isik said as quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News newspaper. He added that the rest of the wall had already been or would be constructed in the near future, while 85 kilometers of the border were river passages, where other precautions had already been taken. Turkey had been strengthening its border with the war-torn Syria for months. In order to ensure safety in the region, Ankara had allocated some 250 million Turkish liras ($80 million) to six border provinces.

Clashes broke out 02 September 2016 between Turkish security forces and Syrian Kurds near the border town of Kobani, Syria. Turkish security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a stone-throwing crowd protesting Turkeys construction of a wall on the border. Kurdish officials claimed that Turkish security forces also opened fire on the protesters, killing at least one person and injuring tens of others. The Turkish forces denied the accusations. The Turkish government began placing concrete barriers along its border with Kobani 26 August 2016. The government looks at the town with unease because of its control by the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey shares a 900-km-long (560 miles) border with Syria, which has been involved in a civil war since 2011. Turkey built a 240-km wall in Hatay province on the border with Syria for enhancing its security, Anadolu Agency reported 22 August 2016. The newly built wall is three meters high and two meters deep. The Government expected to build a new wall in other provinces bordering with Syria. The length of the new fencing structure might reach up to 210 kilometers.

Separately, the set-up of 49 km (30 miles) of barbed wire, 72 km (45) of a trellis fence, and a 61-km barrier (38 miles) of razor accordion-wire has also been completed. The Turkish Army also dug a 401-km (249 miles) ditch and built an 86-km-long (53 miles) embankment as well as completed a 4-km (2.4 miles) shear wall. It also completed the construction of 57 concrete watchtowers at the border regions in the Gaziantep and Kilis provinces and has modernized many existing towers with day-and-night surveillance systems. Turkish army troops had completed the construction of 85 km (53 miles) and improved 1,892 km (1175 miles) of roads, and improved lighting on 422 km (262 miles) of the border.

Turkey erected a modular wall along part of its border with Syria as well as reinforcing wire fencing and digging extra ditches after a suspected Islamic State suicide bombing killed 32 mostly young students in a border town. Obama spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan late on 22 July 2015, agreeing to work together to "stem the flow of foreign fighters" and secure the 900 km (560-mile) border.

Turkey's adoption in 1974 of a more evenhanded policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict failed to impress Syria. Much to Turkey's disappointment, Syria supported the Greeks in the conflict between the Greek and Turkish communities on the island of Cyprus. By the mid-1970s, Turkey was convinced that Syria was facilitating Armenian terrorist operations against Turkish diplomats abroad. Given the coolness and mutual suspicions that have characterized their relations, neither Syria nor Turkey was prepared to be sensitive to the other's interests.

Several disputes make relations between Syria and Turkey uneasy. However, Syria's limited military potential and the alignment of Syrian forces on the Israeli front preclude any immediate threat along the 900-kilometer border between Turkey and Syria. Syria has never abandoned its claim to the Turkish province of Hatay, which includes the city of Iskenderun. France, the mandatory power over Syria from 1920 to 1941, ceded the area to Turkey in 1939 after a disputed plebiscite, in violation of its League of Nations mandate.

Tensions with Syria are compounded by Turkey's control over distribution of the waters of the Euphrates River. Turkey's huge Southeast Anatolian Project, with its dams and hydroelectric plants, threatens to deplete Syria's water resources. In addition, Syria has a history of permitting hostile political movementsArmenian, Marxist, and Kurdishto conduct anti-Turkish operations from Syrian-controlled territory in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. To a considerable degree, the issues of access to water and Syria's support for the Kurdish insurgency are linked. To the extent that Turkey attempts to accommodate Syria on water sharing, Syria limits its backing of the Kurds. In December 1993, the Syrian government took into custody the Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in what was seen as an attempt to strengthen Syria's hand in water negotiations.

In early October 2013 Turkey began building a two-meter high wall along part of its border with Syria near an area of frequent fighting to try to stop people from illegally bypassing its checkpoints and prevent smuggling, officials said on 07 October 2013. Construction workers with excavators began digging foundations in Nusaybin, a border district 10 km (6 miles) north of the Syrian town of Qamishli, where Kurds, rebel units and Arab tribes regularly clashed.

We havent had border security problems in Nusaybin so far but in that area its extremely easy for people to cross illegally. Its almost like there is no border, said a government official in Ankara, asking not to be named. The wall would span just a fraction of the 900-km (560-mile) border, but highlights Ankaras growing concern about the spillover of violence from northern Syria, a battleground for myriad armed groups in a scramble to grab territory.

A local official in Nusaybin confirmed construction work had started, but gave no details on how long the wall would be. There had been discussion of a similar wall on another part of the border which would be around 2.5 km in length.

Turkey, which is sheltering around a quarter of the 2 million people who have fled Syrias conflict, is one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assads fiercest critics and a staunch supporter of the rebels fighting against him. It has vowed to maintain its open door policy to those fleeing the fighting, although it closed border crossings from time to time following clashes near the frontier.

But refugees, smugglers and rebel fighters have been able to cross the border undetected in many remote areas, bypassing the main gates and leaving Turkey with a major security challenge. Turkey, which has NATOs second-largest deployable armed forces, has responded in kind when mortars and shells fired from Syria have hit its soil during the two-and-a-half year conflict.

In September 2013, rebels and al-Qaeda-linked fighters clashed with Kurds in the town of Atma on the border with Turkeys Hatay province, several hundred kilometers west of Nusaybin. Turkey sent additional troops to the border with Syria in recent weeks and over the weekend scrambled several fighter jets after Syrian planes approached the frontier.

Clashes in southeastern Turkey eruptted with protests over government plans to build a wall near the border with Syria. By November 2013 construction was underway highlighting Ankara's growing concern about the spill-over of violence from Syria. Kurdish political parties opposed the plan, saying Syrian Kurds should not be stopped from crossing over.

The people of Nusaibin, who are Kurds, call it the wall of shame some even compared it to the Berlin Wall. Others bluntly say that this is an attempt aimed at dividing the Kurds on the two sides of the borders. The mayor of Nusaybin is quite clear that she and her Peace and Democracy Party, the biggest Kurdish party in Turkey, will not allow that to happen. "This is political there are no attacks coming from Rojava (or Western Kurdistan, a name Kurds give to Kurdish areas in Syria)" says Ayse Gokkan.

By April 2014 Turkey was building a three-meter high [versus two meters initially] wall along part of its border with Syria to try to stop people from illegally bypassing its checkpoints and prevent smuggling. The cement-fortified fence would be constructed in the southern town of Hatay bordering Syria. The fence would be removable from area to another as needed.

A 150 km "modular wall", which can broken down into parts and reassembled elsewhere, would be set up along part of the border, while wire fencing in other parts would be reinforced. Flood-lighting would be installed along a 118 km stretch, while border patrol roads would be repaired, a package of upgrades which would cost around 230 million lira ($86 million). The armed forces were also digging a 365 km long ditch along the border and have deployed some 90 percent of drones and reconnaissance aircraft to the Syrian border. The priority areas are identified in border provinces Gaziantep, Hatay, Sanliurfa and Mardin where suspected terrorists go back and forth.

Around half of the armored vehicles which patrol Turkey's borders are along the Syrian frontier, the official said. Half of the 40,000 military personnel who guard Turkey's borders - including with Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Greece and Bulgaria - are on the Syrian frontier.

"A physical security system will be established along the border," Turkish government Spokesman and deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said following the cabinet meeting. "The critical issue here is preventing the entry of terrorists into Turkey and taking physical measures along the border against the as Islamic State (IS) threat," he added.

The decision was made two days after a deadly bombing in the town of Suruc near the border with Syria that left at least 32 people dead and over one hundred others injured. by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on 20 July 2015 that there was a high probability that ISIL was responsible for the attack. We see Daesh as a threat our border security system will be reinforced by getting started with the urgent points. Physical blocks will be made to avoid the passage points of terrorists, he added.

The EU reaffirmed 25 July 2015 support for Turkey's efforts to step up on ISIL and to the fight against any form of terrorism. This came in a telephone conversation Saturday between between EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu. Mogherini offered EU condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruc and of other recent attacks against police and military officers, noted a statement released by her office. At the same time, Mogherini underlined the fundamental importance of keeping the settlement process with Kurdish people alive and on track. "Terrorist groups must not spoil the process and the ceasefire must be preserved. Any action taken should avoid the risk of endangering the ceasefire and the Kurdish peace process that remains the best opportunity in a generation to solve a conflict that has claimed far too many lives," said the EU foreign policy chief.

"The Turkish government has shown in recent years courage, firm intention and wisdom in bringing forward a political process that is the only means of reaching a stable solution to the conflict, for the sake of all the Turkish people. The EU will keep supporting the government on this path," she added. Turkey's air force has launched attacks against ISIL positions in Syria and against Kurdish PKK militants in northern Iraq.

In 1997 the US embassy and local US military representatives identified about 1,500 people whose security fells into a gray area. These include several hundred assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as others assigned to the Office of Defense Cooperation, the Armys Training and Doctrine Command, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Military Traffic Management Command. Embassy officials in Turkey said that antiterrorism responsibility for these people must be clarified. Either DOD must take responsibility for these people, they said, or the embassy must have explicit authority over them to enforce the State Departments security regulations. The officials added that State would need a concomitant increase in resources to carry out any added responsibilities.

The project had been discussed since 2003 but the government failed to make it happen due to lingering problems in tenders. Bulent Arinc, Turkeys deputy prime minister, announced 23 July 2015 a "renewed effort" to "avoid the entry of terrorists and the foreign fighters and to ease humanitarian passages after a cabinet meeting in Ankara. "A physical security system will be established along the border, Mr Arinc said. The critical issue here is preventing the entry of terrorists [into Turkey] and taking physical measures along the border against the Daesh threat," he continued, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) by its Arabic acronym.

Local media outlet Daily Sabah published a graphic depicting the proposed security system, which included a concrete wall topped with barbed wire, a dedicated patrol road, and a strengthened fence. It will also have 24-hour surveillance with drones, mobile surveillance vehicles, and an integrated command and control center.




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