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Revised Turkish border security aims to minimize terrorist activities

MEHMED CAVID BARKÇIN
ANKARA
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As a part of Turkey's battle against terrorism, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has prepared a new border security project as a countermeasure against terrorist organizations due to the increasing activity of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and other similar terrorist organizations in the region, according to statements made by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç. The project aims to negate the threat posed by the said terrorist organizations and prevent the passage of foreign fighters via 24/7 surveillance of the border.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Arınç presented the country's plan to establish a physical security system along its border with Syria after a recent deadly suicide bomb attack in the border town of Suruç, Şanlıurfa. The Syrian Border Physical Security System Project (SFGS), which is a part of the country-wide Integrated Border Security System Project (ESGS) supervised by the Interior Ministry, will cost an estimated TL 2 billion ($740 million) and will cover Turkey's 911-kilometer-long Syrian border. The project foresees the construction of concrete walls, watchtowers, asphalt patrol roads, reinforced fences and lighting systems along the border, while active border units, armored vehicles, aerostats and drones will also be employed to ensure the total control of borders both by land and air.

On the other hand, the Prime Ministry's Office of Public Diplomacy published a report regarding foreign fighters. According to the report, which excludes Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi border trespassers from the data, in the first half of 2015, a total of 468 foreign fighters were captured during illegal border crossings, while 992 were detained in 2014. Regarding the nationality of the foreign fighters, the report stated that 241 of the total 468 were of Chinese origin, more than half of the current total, while the rest consisted of 56 Russians, 30 Palestinians, 29 Turkmens, 13 English, 12 French, seven Afghans and six South Koreans.

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