Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has said the government will establish a surveillance system called “Physical Border Security System [SFGS in Turkish]” along Syria border in order to prevent flow of foreign fighters who are connected to ISIS, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), or other militant groups.
Arinc said, “Minister of National Defence Vecdi Gonul, Land Forces Commander Hulusi Akar, and respective commanders have made a presentation on the matter,” speaking to the reporters after taking a break from a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
“We need a working on border system which will not break up ties of Syrian and Turkish people, but it will prevent entry and exits of terrorists and flow of foreign fighters. It should also ease safe passages for humanitarian purposes,” he added.
The main topics in the cabinet meeting have been recent incidents connected to militant attacks and border security, the Turkish media has reported.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu previously announced that security measures at Turkey’s Syrian border has been tightened after a huge explosion that hit the southeastern district of Suruc on Monday which led to the deaths of 32 people and injuring more than 100.
He also said, “We will assess an action plan and take necessary measures concerning additional security steps along our border with Syria in our cabinet meeting tomorrow.”
Turkish media has reported that the project of the system is part of “Integrated Border Security System [ESGS in Turkish]” project which aims to monitor the entire territorial borders of Turkey covering 2 million 949 square kilometres.
The ESGS project which is sponsored by interior ministry plans to watch the Turkish borders on a base of 7/24 for 365 days. The project started in July 2012 and the SFGS has been included in the ESGS since June 2013.
The media has reported that the ESGS is valued at $1.59 billion (approximately 4.28 billion Turkish Liras) and its Syrian component SFGS is valued at approximately $741 million. Both projects are ready to be presented for a cabinet meeting and the SFGS has been presented by top defence ministry officials on Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the media reports added.
Turkey will watch over its Syrian border with concrete walls, observation towers, border patrols, strengthened trellis fence, lighting system, efficient border corps, UAVs, balloons, and mobile armoured vehicles according to the SFGS project.
Turkey has a 911-kilometre long border with Syria which is the longest comparing with the other neighbouring countries.
Arinc stated that Turkey has captured 468 foreign fighters in the first six months of 2015. In 2014, a total of 992 foreign fighters had been captured by Turkish security forces, the Turkish media also reported.
Arinc also said, “About 1,000 people have joined with ISIS in Syria and between 1,500 and 2,000 people have joined with the Kurdish PYD since July 2015.”
The PYD is considered by Turkey as the Syrian affiliate of the outlawed PKK. Both ISIS and the PKK are recognised as terrorist groups by Turkey, the US and the EU.
Reuters has reported that US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talked on the phone on July 22 discussing to deepen “their cooperation in the fight against ISIS.”
The White House statement has declared that the two leaders agreed to join their efforts to “stem the flow of foreign fighters and secure Turkey's border with Syria.”