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    (File) Turkish forces' officers provide security at the Cilvegozu border gate with Syria, near Hatay, southeastern Turkey, Monday, Dec, 19, 2016

    Turkey Restricts Border Crossing With Syria Due to Terrorist Threat - Minister

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    Turkey's Customs Minister Bulent Tufenkci said that Ankara put restrictions on the Turkish border crossing at Cilvegozu checkpoint due to seizure of Bab Al-Hawa checkpoint on the Syrian territory by a terrorist group.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkish authorities have restricted passage through the Cilvegozu checkpoint in the country's southern Hatay province, which borders Syria, in connection with the terrorist threat emanating from the war-torn state, Customs Minister Bulent Tufenkci said Thursday.

    "The decision to put restrictions on the border crossing at Cilvegozu checkpoint was taken with regard to seizure of Bab Al-Hawa checkpoint on the Syrian territory by a terrorist group," the minister was quoted as saying by Turkish NTV broadcaster.

    Meanwhile, Turkey is in the final stage of reinforcing the Syrian border with a 559-mile long wall.

    In June, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Isik stated that Ankara was considering the possibility of conducting a military operation in Syria's Afrin district in the neighboring the province of Hatay if the area became a threat to Turkish national security.

    Ankara regards the People's Protection Units of Syria, a predominantly Kurdish militia that controls Afrin, to be a terrorist organization associated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The Kurdistan Workers' Party is a designated terrorist group in Turkey and the United States.

    Kurds are an ethnic minority in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria and are striving for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. The conflict between Turkey and Kurdish militant groups seeking independence escalated in July 2015, and was soon followed by terrorist acts allegedly committed by PKK militants and regular anti-PKK operations by the Turkish government.

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    Bulent Tufenkci, Syria, Turkey
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