Syrian border wall to be completed in 2017
HATAYTurkey will complete a 911-kilometer-long wall along its border with Syria in the first half of 2017, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said Nov. 2 during a visit to the border along with the commander of the Land Forces, Salih Zeki Çolak, and Hatay Gov. Erdal Ata.
Stating that Turkey had the right to take all the measures to fend off ostensible threats aimed at itself, Işık said Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, launched on Aug. 24 in order to rid the border of terrorist organizations, was part of these efforts.
“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,” Işık said Nov. 2.
“Within the first half of 2017, we wish to finalize all of the 911 kilometers of the Syrian border with physical border security,” he added.
As part of the precautions being taken to preserve border security, the government is planning to form a professional armed border patrol that will work under the aegis of the Interior Ministry in 2017, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Işık said that out of the 520 kilometers of the wall, around 200 kilometers of it had been already contracted, with around 250 kilometers more to be contracted within a week or two.
He said the remaining 85 kilometers of the border were river passages, over which different precautions had been taken.
Border surveillance is currently undertaken by the Interior Ministry, but 10 other ministries and central administrative bodies are involved at different stages such as customs, passport control and medical control.
Along other parts of the border, protection and surveillance services are provided by the Turkish Land Forces, the Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard.
However, a state of emergency decree law passed on July 23 tied the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard to the Interior Ministry, removing them from the authority of the Land Forces and Naval Forces.
With its new border plan, Ankara aims to gather and centralize different authorities for border services under the full command of the Interior Ministry. The capacity of the police, gendarmerie and Coast Guard personnel will also be strengthened by the ministry.
In addition, personnel from the counter-terrorism unit of the Police Department will go through special training.