by WorldTribune Staff, February 27, 2017
Turkey has finished construction on more than half of its 511-kilometer (317 miles) security wall along its border with Syria.
“The construction works are ongoing and we will complete it as soon as possible,” said Ergun Turan, president of Turkey’s state-owned housing agency TOKI.
Turkey shares a 900-kilometer (559 miles) border with Syria. Turkey has taken in more than 3 million Syrian refugees since conflict in the neighboring country erupted.
Ankara has been under pressure from the United States and Europe to seal its porous southern border, which has been used by the Islamic State (ISIS) and other jihadist groups for smuggling weapons, supplies and fighters. After a military intervention into northern Syria in August, the Turkish military and allied rebel groups cleared ISIS from a section of the border.
Seeking to stem migration to Europe, the EU has remained largely silent about the wall’s impact on refugees.
Turan said 290 kilometers (180 miles) of wall is finished. The wall is made from portable concrete blocks each weighing seven tons. The blocks are 2-meters thick (6.5-foot) at the base and 3-meters (10-foot) high, topped by a meter of razor wire. Along the entire wall roads are being built for military patrols and watch towers are being erected.
The completed section covers the provinces of Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Mardin and Sirnak.