lundi 19 mai 2014

La Turquie poursuit la construction de murs à la frontière syrienne

Turkey builds portable wall on border with Syria

HATAY - Anadolu Agency

A portable concrete wall is being built on the border with Syria in the southern province of Hatay as  part of security measures.

The wall, which is composed of concrete 3-meter-long blocks, is being built in the border town of Reyhanlı’s Kuşaklı village in an effort to prevent illegal crossings and smuggling.

The wall will reportedly be 1,200-meter-long and weigh nine tons when it is finished. The concrete blocks will able to be transferred when necessary.

The construction began two days ago and 150 concrete blocks have been placed so far.

The same kind of walls were previously used in some areas in Syria’s border town Atme.

In the southeastern province of Gaziantep, another wall was built in January in order to stop people from illegally bypassing checkpoints.

Turkey has vowed to maintain its “open door” policy to those fleeing the fighting, although it has closed border crossings from time to time following clashes near the frontier.

Refugees, smugglers and rebel fighters have been able to cross the border undetected in many remote areas, bypassing the main gates and leaving Turkey with a major security challenge.

The construction of a two-meters-high wall between Nusaybin and Qamishli further east along the Syrian border on October had resulted in protests on both sides of the frontier, prompting the mayor of the district of Şırnak to start a hunger strike.

Turkey had also previously announced the construction of a 2.5-kilometer-long wall along the Cilvegözü border gate with Syria to prevent smuggling activities.

Source :

"Turkey builds wall along Syria border
13 May 2014

A portable wall 1,200 metres long, 3 metres high and weighing 9 tonnes is being built in the border town of Reyhanli in an effort to prevent illegal crossings and smuggling activities.

Construction of the Reyhanli wall, and others like it near the Syrian border, signify a new approach for Turkey, which so far has upheld an open-door policy for Syrian refugees and only temporarily sealed border crossings after the break-up of clashes near the frontier, experts say.

A year ago this month twin car bombings in Reyhanli killed more than 50 people and injured more than 140 others.

The Reyhanli wall is just across from the Syrian town of Atmeh, which had been controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS), but recently was taken over by another terrorist group in opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ISIS claimed responsibility for last year's attack in Reyhanli.

In January, a similar wall was built in Gaziantep with the same aim: preventing people from illegally crossing the border. In October, a wall 2 metres high was constructed between Nusaybin and the Syrian town of Qamishli, sparking protests on both sides, including a hunger strike by Nusaybin Mayor Ayse Gokkan.

Construction of the walls is the joint initiative of Interior Ministry and Turkish Land Forces. In October 2013, then-Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the sole aim of the walls is to prevent deaths and injuries resulting from landmines.

"How can one handle a border that is 911 kilometres long? I know that those who have been complaining about this issue are trying to create different perceptions," he told reporters.

The three-year conflict in Syria has resulted in more than 2.5 million refugees. According to UN figures, there are more than 722,000 Syrian refugees registered in Turkey and more who were not registered with the government.

Murat Erdogan, director of Hacettepe University's Migration and Politics Research Centre, said an international solution is needed to address the Syrian refugee issue.

"The solution can be provided when the international community reaches a consensus over handling this immigration problem with shared commitments. To prevent the immigration, there is a need to work on solutions from the outset, in other words by terminating the war," he told SES Türkiye.

"From the humanitarian and conscientious perspective, Turkey should maintain its open-door policy and the status of temporary asylum. But in addition to constructing such walls, there is also a need to activate some institutional mechanisms that create a sustainable basis to fight against illegal immigration flows," he added.

In April 2013, Turkey adopted a new law on foreigners and international protection and founded the General Directorate of Migration Management under the Ministry of Interior.

According to the law, foreigners and those under international protection cannot be sent back to places where it is likely they will be subject to inhumane treatment, torture or humiliating punishment.

Ali Habip, a lawyer in Hatay, told SES Türkiye that the wall would bring positive changes in regional stability. "Personally, I don't raise an objection to this wall. We have been living through difficult times in Hatay. The criminality rates have been increasing with the flow of many convicts and terrorists coming from Syria," Habip said.

"The incidences of smuggling have also escalated. At the onset of the war, we also witnessed the human smuggling, especially of women. Nowadays, Hatay is seen by Syrian opposition as a shelter, and this undermines the peace and stability in the region, and especially in our city," he added.

Habip said construction of the wall is a sign that the state wants to fill the power vacuum in the region as the open door policy paved the way for the undetected passage of not only refugees, but also smugglers and rebel fighters.

"It didn't only leave Turkey with a major security challenge, but also the state has lost a great deal of its tax benefits with the smuggling over the border that resulted in the mass flow of cheap goods into the border towns," he added.

On April 26th, the military captured three people who were trying to illegally cross from Syria into Turkey on a boat. That same day, the army also identified 310 fuel cans at five different points near Hatay's Narlica district. On April 25th and 27th, the army fired shots at suspected smugglers in Narlica. The suspects fled the area and left behind smuggled fuel oil and 220 metres of pipe used in smuggling operations.

Between April 25th and May 1st, the army captured 966 people making illegal crossing of the border, along with two guns, 11,112 packages of cigarettes, 138.3 kilograms of drugs, 45,950 litres of fuel oil, and 1,400 meters of pipe that were intended to cross the borders through illegal means."

Source :

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