Half of a 144 kilometre separation wall built by Turkey on its Iranian border has already been built, with the whole project set to be finished by 2019, a Turkish official said on Wednesday.
Ankara’s stated aim is to protect the Turkish border from smuggling, illegal immigration and infiltration of militants.
The wall is being built by the state-owned TOKI construction company, which said the wall will be completed by Spring of next year.
“We started this [wall] in the summer, but the season is very short here. Currently, 80 kilometres of this 144 kilometre [wall] has been completed, and when seasonal weather conditions permit, God willing, we will have finished by next spring,” TOKI president Ergun Turan told Reuters.
The company plays a prominent role in the government’s efforts to reconstruct areas in south-eastern Turkey that have been devastated by heavy fighting between the army and Kurdish militants since a ceasefire in 2015.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last year that Turkey would build a wall on its border with Iraq and on part of its border with Iran, similar to the near-completed wall on Turkey’s border with Syria. Turkish officials said the wall with Iran was aimed at preventing the movement of Kurdish PKK fighters.