06:28 GMT +317 January 2018
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    A Kurdish People's Protection Unit(YPG) fighter stands near a wall which activists say was put up by Turkish authorities, on the Syria-Turkey border in the western Syrian countryside of Ras al-Ain on February 2, 2016

    Turkey Needs Political Will to Lockdown Border With Syria

    © AFP 2018/ DELIL SOULEIMAN
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    It a is top priority for Turkey to close off the remaining 98-kilometer (60-mile) stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border used to resupply terrorists in Syria with militants and arms, however there should be the political will to do it and it is concentrated in the hands of the president, according to Turkish ex-diplomat Aydın Selcen.

    During last week’s session of the joint Russian-Turkish commission, Moscow specifically stressed the necessity of closing the 98-kilometer section of the Turkish-Syrian border.

    The meeting was a continuation of last Tuesday's dialogue in St. Petersburg between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The two, among other things, discussed the peace settlement in Syria, which is why Moscow is now urging Ankara to seal this stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border in order to stop the flow of terrorists and weapons.

    Turkish former Consul General in the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan Aydın Selcen told Sputnik Turkiye that Ankara needs the political will to do it, however it is a top priority in order to make the country more secure.

    “The sealing of the 98-kilometer stretch is possible from the military point of view, however there should be political will to back such a decision,” the former diplomat told Sputnik.

    “A strategy should be created involving the military. The sealing of the border could be ensured with the right technologies including airships, fixed cameras, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), aircraft,” Selcen said.

    Moreover, he added, if neccessary Ankara could cooperate with the Syrian and Russian Air Force to secure the necessary level of control over the border.

    However the former diplomat stressed that upon sealing the border, the groups which have previously enjoyed support from Turkey now can stage provocations in response to the move and it could be avoided if Ankara follows the correct foreign policy tactics.

    “The closure of the border could have a certain impact on Turkey’s internal security,” he said.

    For example, being deprived of Ankara’s support, some groups might try to carry out terrorist attacks in large provinces or in the cities where there is an unstable social structure, such as Hatay, Urfa or Gaziantep.

    The Turkish authorities therefore need to act cautiously, and follow a clear strategy. And there should be a political will, he added.

    In modern Turkey the political will is concentrated in the hands of the president, he explained. Any further developments depend on the actions of the government, which will act in accordance signals given by the president’s apparatus.

    Aydın Selcen also noted that the sealing of the border should be a priority for Turkey as the jihadists pose a threat to its national security.

    And even though it might somehow deteriorate relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, if these countries understand and respect Turkey, they should equally understand and respect its priorities,

    The maintenance of close ties with Russia is also a priority in comparison with cooperation with these countries, he finally states.

    Related:

    Foreign Policy Shift: Turkey Changing Priorities and Partners on Syria
    Turkey to Consider Closing Border With Syria at Russia’s Request – Reports
    Tags:
    national security, closure, border, Aydın Selcen, Russia, Syria, Turkey
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