17th August 2015
Turkey has announced plans for one of the world’s biggest perimeter border fences along the 560-mile border with Syria after a suicide bomb left 32 dead in the border town of Suruc.
The Turkish government is determined to combat terrorism and has decided on the radical physical barrier. It will be relatively simple in its design, although the execution will take a good deal of work. A 150-mile concrete wall topped with razor wire will be the centre piece, together with a strengthened fence and a dedicated patrol road that deals with the other 400 miles of border. Security fencing is more than good enough for one of the toughest borders in the world, then.
Drones, mobile surveillance vehicles and a central command and control centre will also contribute to the security effort and with fighters heading to Syria travelling freely through Turkey for several years, the government knows it has a fight on its hands to stem the tide of refugees joining the ranks of ISIS.
The bombing in Suruc seemed to target the Kurdish community, which has inflamed local racial tensions and brought accusations that the government actually backs attacks against the Kurds. The Turkish government has fiercely denied these rumours and has acted fast to come up with a radical plan to protect the border and to be seen actively fighting the growing threat of terrorism.
Of course Turkey’s proximity to the highly-unstable Syrian border means that a wall is the most obvious and effective means of controlling traffic in and out of the country. It is no guarantee, but the physical barriers and border fences will give the government a chance of protecting the vulnerable towns along the border and give its citizens peace of mind.
The US has pledged its support and will help with the construction of the modular wall, which will be 150km long. Along the rest of the border, wire fencing will be reinforced, supported with a 200 mile ditch and an increased military presence. Around half of Turkey’s border patrol is focused on Syria and considering Turkey also shares borders with Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Greece and Bulgaria, this is a remarkable share of the resources.
With increasingly advanced surveillance, it speaks volumes that a government would commit this much time, money and resource on building a traditional wall. There simply is no substitute for a physical barrier when it comes to keeping unwelcome people out, is the clear message.