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Security measures stepped up at Turkey-Iran border

Afghan migrants look out from the top of a smuggler's truck after it was seized by Jandarma officers during a roadside raid on July 10, 2021 in Van, Turkey [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]
Afghan migrants look out from the top of a smuggler's truck after it was seized by Jandarma officers during a roadside raid on July 10, 2021 in Van, Turkey [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

Security measures are being kept at the highest level at the Turkish-Iranian border due to a possible migration wave in the wake of last month's Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, according to a Turkish official.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mehmet Emin Bilmez, the governor of the border province of Van, said measures on the border have been stepped up over the last three years.

"We have maximized measures at the border. We're doing our best to make the border impenetrable," Bilmez explained.

Turkish security forces work at the border 24/7 in coordination, using all technological means at hand, he added.

"There is no massing of immigrants at the border," he said.

"Sometimes there are people who somehow cross the border," Bilmez added, saying that these people often hide in derelict buildings.

"Recently there has been a rise in public complaints about this issue. We process the immigrants we held at a repatriation center. We demolished over 100 derelict structures where immigrants were hiding," he said.

READ: Afghanistan could be catalyst for common EU migration policy

Last month's sweeping takeover of most of Afghanistan by the Taliban reportedly triggered an exodus of Afghans fearful of the future under Taliban rule.

There is ongoing work to build a wall and smart tower in an area from the Iranian border area in Van to Dogubayazit in the eastern province of Agri and Yuksekova in Hakkari.

Bilmez also said that 750 police special operations personnel, 35 teams, and 50 armored vehicles are working at the border.

As security measures on land were tightened, Bilmez said smugglers started to use the massive Lake Van with boats. The Interior Ministry ordered the formation of a Coast Guard Boat Command to counter this threat. "Teams also started to work in Lake Van. The Coast Guard Command is responsible for the entire lake," he said.

18 million Afghans, half the country, need humanitarian assistance and roughly 3 million are internally displaced - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

18 million Afghans, half the country, need humanitarian assistance and roughly 3 million are internally displaced – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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