03:14 GMT +323 January 2018
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    This May 24, 2017 file photo shows the newly built wall near Cilvegozu border gate in Reyhanli, at the Turkey-Syria border

    Turkey to Finish Iranian Border Wall Next Spring

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    Turkey has finished building a wall along more than half of its 144 km border with Iran. The partition, meant to prevent illegal immigration, smuggling and militant infiltration, will be completed next spring, according to Turkish housing developer TOKI.

    In addition to the Iranian border wall, TOKI has also been busy building a wall on Turkey's southern border with Syria as well, where Kurdish fighters and Sunni jihadists criss cross international lines regularly. 

    "We started this [Iran wall] in the summer, but the season is very short here. Currently, 80 km of this 144 km has been completed, and when seasonal weather conditions permit, God willing, we will have finished by next spring," TOKI President Ergun Turan told Reuters.

    Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey will build walls along its border with Iraq and part of its border with Iran to replicate its almost-completed border with Syria. Turkish officials hope that the wall between Turkey and Iran will prohibit smuggling and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant infiltration through the Iranian border. The PKK is an organization in Turkey and Iraq that has been in armed conflict with the Turkish state since 2015 in an attempt to achieve an independent Kurdish state.

    Officials also claim that since the building of the wall along the Syrian border, Daesh and other militant groups have tried to create smuggling routes through Iran into Syria.

    In a recent interview, Turan announced that the wall along Turkey's Syrian border has not yet been completed due to weather and security concerns.

    "All but 25 to 30 km have been completed, including the road [alongside the wall]… We can say it is at 98 percent," Turan said. 

    TOKI is also leading efforts to rebuild parts of southeastern Turkey that were wrecked in clashes between the Turkish government and Kurdish militants during the government's military operation against PKK in 2015.

    Toki plans on building 25,000 housing units in Turkey's most damaged areas. Ergun expects that the agency will build between 60,000 and 65,000 units in all of Turkey this year. The construction company has built 820,000 housing units since 2003.

    The agency is also planning to build "industry sites" like stadiums, hospitals and schools in three Turkish provinces: Aksaray, Bolu and Diyarbakir.

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    Tags:
    construction, militant group, border, Iran, Syria, Turkey
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