The ‘wall construction project’ in Diyarbakır (Amed), Turkey, has been suspended due to objections submitted by its residents and public interest bodies. The project, formulated by Turkish State Railways (TCDD), aims to construct a ‘wall’ that will divide the city.
Doğan Hatun, Secretary of the Provincial Coordination Board of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), in an interview with Mezopotamya Agency, stated that the project is not ‘really’ related to increasing safety by reducing the number traffic related accidents on the railway. It is, in fact, related to “security” concerns of the state.
He added that this could be evidenced by the fact that there has only been one reported ‘death by accident’ on the railway over the past five years.
The wall would divide the city into two. It is projected to be over two metres in height and ten kilometres long. Razor wire fencing along the full length of the wall is envisaged.
The project has been suspended for the moment due to objections that have been raised by residents of the city. However, Hatun thinks the project may proceed if objections do not continue in a sustained manner.
Hatun argues that the reason for construction of the wall cannot be due to safety concerns. He has ascertained that only one person has died during twenty one ‘accidents’ that have occured over the past five years.
Three accidents were caused by the railway system itself, and one of these was caused by a failure of TCDD’s signalling system.
The railway was constructed by Germany in 1935 and there has been no renovation or modernisation of the network since then, he observed. Hatun states that the entire wall project should be reconsidered.
What is the real aim of TCDD’s wall?
The project, he warns, has been prepared without even conducting any feasibility study. The ‘real aim’ of the contruction plan is “security-oriented”.
The kind of construction being promoted, with its use of razor wires and high walls is not dissimilar to high security prison wall constructions and structures.
Hatun believes “they are trying to turn the city into an open prison”. He states that he is not aware of a similar ‘rail’ project of this kind in the world and adds that political parties should get involved with this issue and raise their concerns at the highest level.