The concrete wall connecting the border between Turkey and Iran is currently being strengthened by a series of additional deterrents to prevent the influx of refugees from Afghanistan from passing through Iran.
The wall is constructed of blocks three metres high and two metres wide, with a weight of seven tonnes each. The wall stretches from the border at the eastern Van province up to Dogubayazit in the Agri province, and down to Yuksekova in the Hakkari province. It is further supported by 110 kilometres of trenches and 103 electro-optical surveillance towers.
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According to the governor of Van's Çaldıran District, Yusuf Durani Dinç, who spoke to Anadolu Agency, the wall and other defences will further secure the border against: "All kinds of smuggling, especially terrorism, [and] prevention of illegal immigrants." According to the governor, it will help ensure: "The security of the border and the establishment of peace of the citizens."
The primary reason for the enhanced defences is the influx of refugees from Afghanistan, Dinç confirmed. The governor claimed: "Illegal migration due to both the internal turmoil in Afghanistan and the instability of some countries is reflected in our country from time to time…We are taking the necessary action against the immigrants who try to infiltrate our borders, within the scope of both our judicial and administrative procedures. We ensure that they are referred to removal centres for their return to their countries."
Last week, hundreds of Afghan migrants and refugees were reported entering Turkey from Iran, with the stated aim of fleeing the conflict in Afghanistan and the intense Taliban offensive on areas under the control of Kabul.
Following that influx, Turkish officials reportedly confirmed that almost 1,500 Afghan migrants were detained due to illegally entering the country. Therefore, the new wall and trenches aim to help the Turkish authorities stem the flow of more migrants and asylum seekers, with a bigger influx predicted as the Taliban seems to draw closer to victory in Afghanistan.