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Turkey's wall plans face Kurdish opposition

Kurdish political groups oppose alleged Turkish plan to erect wall near border with Syria.
Last modified: 16 Oct 2013 00:43
(Photo credit: Anatolia news agency)

There is a controversy on Turkey’s border with Syria’s biggest Kurdish city of Alqamishly.

It started early October when Turkish military excavators started construction work here.

Now the people of Nusaibin, who are also Kurds, accuse the government of digging the foundations to build a wall.

They call it the wall of shame … some even compared it to the Berlin Wall. Others bluntly say that this is an attempt aimed at dividing the Kurds on the two sides of the borders.

Work stopped. Not clear why or if it will resume again.

The mayor of Nusaybin is quite clear that she and her Peace and Democracy Party, the biggest Kurdish party in Turkey, will not allow that to happen.

"This is political … there are no attacks coming from Rojava (or Western Kurdistan, a name Kurds give to Kurdish areas in Syria)" says Ayse Gokkan.

"Al-Qaeda fighters are crossing from Turkey to the other side…."

"One reason behind this wall is to separate Kurds… there are 900km of border with Syria, why Turkey doesn’t build a wall anywhere else?" asks the mayor.

The government denies allowing al-Qaeda fighters cross into Syria to fight the Kurds.

It also rejects the ideas that it’s building a wall, saying it's simply taking "measures to strengthen" its security on its border with Syria to curb illegal crossings and smuggling.

It's a complicated and there could be others reasons too.

Turkey is worried that the brutal war next door could easily spread.

It's also concerned that the Democratic Union Party, the PYD and its fighters, are running Kurdish areas near its border.

Some even suggest that the Syrian government withdrew most of security forces from Kurdish areas as a part of deal between President Bashar al-Assad and the PYD to ensure Kurds not fighting the regime in return for Kurdish autonomy.

That is another nightmare scenario for Turkey because Turkey fears the creation of another federal Kurdish region on its borders.

And with an autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Iraq, it could lead Turkey’s Kurds making similar demands.

And to make it worse, the PYD is branch of the Kurdistan Worker's Party the PKK that Turkey is fighting for the last 30 years.

In other words, the PYD and the PKK could open new fronts and cause problems in Turkey’s own backyard.

And that is why Turkey may take whatever it thinks it needs to protect its vast border with Syria.