Turkey has begun building a border wall with Iran, similar to the one on the 900km-long Turkey-Syria border. Ankara said the step is necessary to boost security measures.

At the request of the Turkish defence ministry, the wall is being built by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey in order to curb illegal frontier crossings.

Of the 500km-long border between Turkey and Iran, only 144kms will be covered by the wall primarily to stop the movement of Kurdish separatists. Pictures from the construction site in eastern Agri province show massive concrete blocks being moved to the location. The first stage of the construction will be completed in October.

The province's Governor Suleyman Elban along with top government officials visited the site, reported the Dogan news agency. The wall is expected to be two metres in width and three metres in height.

Earlier, Tehran welcomed the move. "We welcome all kinds of actions that will increase security and stability at the border. We are in favour of deeper bilateral dialogue to increase coordination in this regard. Border security is important for both Iran and Turkey and the necessary efforts should be made by both countries," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying by a local daily shortly after Turkey's announcement in May 2017.

As for the wall with Syria, 690km of the planned 828km had been completed, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said in June.

Erdogan on Israel
President Erdogan had earlier announced the plan to curb extremists' movement Umit Bektas/Reuters