Turkey launches new Coast Guard Command unit on Lake Van

Turkey launches new Coast Guard Command unit on Lake Van

Turkey launches new Coast Guard Command unit on Lake Van

The Turkish Coast Guard Boat Command, which was launched to prevent smuggling activities over Lake Van and to ensure security on the lake, will play an active role in preventing irregular migrants from being taken to other provinces by boat, according to officials on Aug. 21. 

Due to the recent developments in Afghanistan, measures have been taken to prevent irregular migrants from trying to enter Turkey illegally through Iran.

To prevent irregular migrants crossing the border illegally from being taken to other provinces through Lake Van, the Coast Guard Boat Command was established by the Interior Ministry.

The Command, which started its operations in a landlocked region for the first time, will both ensure security on the lake and play an active role in preventing irregular migrant smuggling.

The Boat Command elements currently deployed in the eastern Van province's Edremit district will keep Lake Van - which has an area of ??3,713 square kilometers (1,433 square miles) - under surveillance 24/7.

Having all technological facilities such as thermal and night vision cameras, radar, and sonar devices, the Command will ensure security throughout the lake.

The teams, which continue their patrol activities with two control boats and a team of 15 people, will officially start their duties as of Sept. 1.

Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez told Anadolu Agency that they have increased security measures against smuggling and irregular migration across the province.

Stating that they have taken high-level measures in the city center and its surroundings, he said that some measures have also been taken on Lake Van.

Emphasizing that the Coast Guard Boat Command will now carry out the security on Lake Van, Bilmez said the newly established unit will be responsible for the entire lake.

"The sole reason for the establishment of the new unit is to completely prevent migrant smuggling on the lake," he added.

Turkey raises security measures along Iranian border 

Examining the construction of a modular wall being built in eastern Van and Ağrı provinces to prevent the entrance of irregular migrants into Turkey through the Iranian border, Bilmez said: "In addition to the wall, the law enforcement officers keep the border under control day and night."

After the latest developments, reinforcements from other provinces were sent to the region as part of support to the gendarmerie along the borderline, he noted.

Also, the security general directorate provided support to the region with 50 armored vehicles and 35 personnel, the governor added.

Our gendarmerie, police, and border units are working in harmony and making use of all sorts of technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, and thermal cameras," Bilmez said.

Meanwhile, Col. Ilker Ertuğrul, the commander of the border brigade, said they are spending efforts to protect the 295-kilometer (183-mile) Iranian border with six battalions, three commando battalions, and armored vehicles.

The infrastructure and superstructure works of 58 observation towers and 45 communication towers have been completed, Ertuğrul added.

The construction of modular wall work is being carried out in three phases in a 64-kilometer (39-mile) section of the region, he stressed, saying the construction of two additional border police stations and electro-optic tower works in the region is underway.

The work for the wall has been completed in the 6-km (3.7-mi) section of the second phase, while in the third phase, construction of around a length of 200 meters (656 feet) of the wall has started, he added.

Also, Deputy Commander of the Provincial Gendarmerie Col. Osman Delen said: "We are resolutely implementing the measures we have taken to prevent irregular migration flows, together with 54 elements comprising security guards, commandos, and internal security teams just behind the border units."