The Turkish government announced plans in July to build a new wall along the Iran border which will be completed by the end of this year. The 64 km wall, three metres high and 2.80 metres wide, will be built as part of an ‘Urgent Border Security Sytem’ and will be accompanied by 110 km of ditches, with 110 electro-optic towers erected alongside it. An 81 km wall, which began construction in 2017, was completed at the end of last year.
Whilst government officials have stated that the priority of the project is to prevent illegal crossings, made more urgent due to the surge in the number of Afghan refugees that is expected after the Taliban took power in that country, an MP from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has contested this view.
Speaking to the Mesopotamia News Agency (MA), Murat Sarısaç stated that the government’s primary objective is actually to isolate the Kurdish people who are living on the two sides of the border.
“The government is building walls not only along the 130-kilometre Iran border, but also along the Syrian border. The objective is to prevent contacts between the Kurds and to disrupt their communications,” he said.
“They say the walls are built to prevent crossing by refugees and for security. But they had started digging ditches before the flow of refugees began. Many Kurds have been killed on the border during the construction of the wall. Both by the soldiers of Iran and Turkey.”
He indicated that the lands of villagers had been confiscated in order to dig the new ditches and to build the wall. “In short, what Turkey wants to do is to completely separate the Kurds from each other; prevent any cultural interaction,” he added. “They want to further split a people who are already forced to live within the borders of four different countries.”