Turkey’s Syria border tense as army deploys armored vehicles
HATAY / LONDON
The army has started to deploy armored vehicles to the Syrian border near the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
A Turkish specialist sergeant was injured on June 5 in the southern province of Hatay when a clash erupted at the Oğulpınar border post, according to a statement issued by the Turkish Armed Forces.
Fifty-five shots were fired by a group of 500 people who were attempting to illegally enter Turkey from Syria.
Turkish border post teams responded to the fire and a short clash occurred between the two sides. The sergeant was injured in the knee during the clash, the statement said.
The incident came as the Turkish army has started to deploy armored vehicles to the Syrian border near the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Doğan news agency reported.
Turkey has repeatedly struck the Syrian military in response to shelling and mortar rounds that landed on its territory.
In a related development, Trade and Customs Minister Hayati Yazıcı announced that the Akçakale customs gate had been reopened. The border gate was shut down for security reasons shortly after the deadly Reyhanlı attack on May 11, which caused the deaths of 52 people.
Meanwhile, The British Foreign Ministry has advised its citizens against travel to a Turkish town on the border with Syria. In a written statement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against “all travel to Akçakale and Ceylanpınar” towns near the Syria border, and against all but essential travel to areas within 10 kilometers of Turkey’s border with Syria, recalling the car explosions that took place on May 11.
It also recommended avoiding the ongoing protests in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Adana, Hatay, Tunceli, and other cities across Turkey.
The statement also urged its citizens not to travel Hakkari, Şırnak, Siirt and Tunceli provinces if not essential, stating that these were the “main provinces affected” by terrorism in the country.
“There is a high threat from terrorism. The [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK has carried out frequent attacks throughout the country. Al-Qaeda and other networks have specifically targeted western interests in Turkey. There have also been attacks close to the Syrian border,” said the statement.
Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year, mostly without trouble, it said.