Afghan migrants coming up against an increasingly hostile Turkish border

Istanbul/Van, Turkey, Aug 26 (EFE).- A tightly-controlled, high-security border and deportations, including alleged hot returns, is what awaits the majority of Afghan refugees looking to cross from Iran into Turkey.

The situation along Turkey’s eastern border with Iran is a far cry from the scenes that played out along its southern border with Syria in 2011, when millions of people displaced by the civil war crossed a relatively open frontier.

An exit point for migrants fleeing volatile crises in the region, Turkey has already taken in some 3.7 million Syrians as well as 300,000 Afghans and thousands of Iraqis, Uighurs and people from various African countries.

There has been a change in tack.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his position clear to the President of the European Council Charles Michel in a telephone conversation at the weekend.

Turkey, hosting some 5 million refugees already, cannot take an “additional burden of migration,” he said.


A wall spans 156 kilometers (97 miles) of the roughly 560km mountainous Iranian border in the northeastern Turkish provinces of Igdir and Agri, and construction is underway to erect a three-meter high, 2.8m thick wall along another 64km stretch in eastern Van province.

There are plans to install wire and sensors along the remaining 314km.

In addition to this, Ankara has strengthened its deployment of soldiers to keep watch over the frontier with sophisticated technology such as drones, thermal cameras and sensors to detect movement.

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