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Turkey Plans Wall On Iranian Border

Turkey -- A K9 unit patrol along a wall on the border line between Turkey and Syria, November 1, 2016

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, that Turkey has “informally informed” Tehran of a plan to raise a wall on Iran-Turkey border, Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, reported.

According to the unidentified official, “In principle, Iran does not have any problem with the wall. Nevertheless, Ankara should formally keep Tehran posted on the matter.”

“Apparently, Turkish officials intend to apply new measures to tighten their border security,’” the official told Tehran Times.

“The wall on Iran-Turkey border is going to help security forces in their fight against trafficking merchandise."

ISNA news agency quoted the same source, saying it is "within each country's international rights to take measures inside its own territory to enhance its security. We are aware of Ankara's plan and we support it," the Iranian source said. "As an international standard, though," he added, "Turkey should inform the Iranian side about all actions taken along its border with Iran

The plan for constructing a border wall between Iran and Turkey was first reported by Turkish Hurriyet Daily News on Tuesday. Quoting Turkey’s senior officials, Hurriyet reported: “Ankara is considering plans to build the wall as part of measures against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).”

In recent years Turkey has been the scene of a dozen major terrorist and suicide attacks. Ankara has often blamed the Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, and the so-called Islamic State group ISIS for those attacks.

Turkish officials claim some 800 to 1000 PKK militias are in camps based inside Iran. Nevertheless, Iran has not formally responded to the claim, Tehran Times reports.

Iran, for its part, has been involved in armed clashes with its own Kurdish rebel group, PJAK, an offshoot of PKK. PJAK is mainly based in Iraq.

For Tehran, however, the Turkish 'Wall Plan' seems to be welcome for economic reasons, too. The unnamed Iranian source was quoted expressing hope that the project could reduce the smuggling of goods from Turkey into Iran. "Turkish textile smuggling into Iran amounts to $2 billion annually," the source told IRNA, Iran's state news agency. "We would even support the implementation of the wall project as swiftly as possible to reduce smuggling goods into Iran."

Iranian-Turkish border stretches from north to south for 499 km (310 mi).

Turkey has already constructed a wall along its border with Syria to stop PKK and ISIS terrorists attacking Turkey from their safe heavens outside the country.