Iran welcomes Turkish border wall against PKK

Iranian and Turkish flags fly at the border.

An official from Iran’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Tehran had been informed of Ankara’s plans to build a 70 km border wall between the two states, adding that it would stop illegal border trade worth $2 billion.

“We are not against this in principle. Turkey is taking new measures to ensure security at mutual borders according to agreements,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the state-run IRNA news agency.

A high level Turkish official said on Monday said that Ankara was planning on building the 70 km wall at the border near Agri and Igdir and closing the rest of the border with towers and iron fences to prevent PKK attacks.

The official claimed that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been engaged in a three-decade insurgency against Turkey for Kurdish autonomy, has between 800-1,000 members in camps inside Iran near the border.

The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), a group affiliated to the PKK and fighting for Kurdish autonomy within Iran, has also sporadically clashed with Iranian forces, most notably in 2011.