Turkey to build wall on Iranian border to combat PKK

Turkish soldiers during a military operation (© Kenan Gurbuz / Reuters)

A high-level official has told Turkish daily Hurriyet that Turkey is planning on building a wall along the Turkish-Iranian border as part of its war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The PKK has the Maku, Dambat, Navur, Kotr, Keneresh and Sehidan camps inside Iran near the Turkish border. There are some 800-1,000 PKK terrorists in those camps. They enter Turkey, carry out attacks and leave,” the official, who was not named, said on May 8.

“As a precaution against this, we are going to build a wall along 70 kilometers of the border near Agri and Igdir, and we will close the rest of it with towers and iron fences. In addition, we are placing lights on the border,” he added.

Cameras will also be installed for 24 hour surveillance of the highway between eastern Tunceli and Elazig provinces, where the outlawed Kurdish group has carried out attacks, the official said.

In what seems like an indirect admission that Turkish forces may be struggling against the PKK, the official added, “The security forces need high spirits in this process. We need to strengthen their mood.”

Turkey has stepped up military operations against the PKK fighters, carrying out hundreds of airstrikes on bases in the Kurdish regions in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.

Ankara also recently completed a 556 km wall on its southern border with the Kurdish-led autonomous administration, Rojava, in northern Syria. The structure, the third largest in the world of its kind, was built to fight “terrorist groups” according to Turkish officials, which includes the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Critics said the wall was erected to divide Kurdish majority areas in Syria’s north and Turkey’s southeast and was only built after the expansion of the autonomous region and not when Islamist groups were using the border to cross over into Syria to fight the government.

According to some sources the wall on the Syrian border will be expanded across the whole of the 911 kilometre border, however this has not been confirmed by authorities.