Turkey’s Trouble at the Border

Two recent developments concerning the painfully long Syrian civil war illustrate how Turkey is challenged to keep order at its border. First is the issue of massive numbers of Syrian refugees continuing to flow into Turkey, and the second is Turkey’s dubious preparedness in the face of a potential chemical warfare threat.

The news broke Thursday [May 2] afternoon that gunshots were exchanged between Syrians trying to enter the country and Turkish security forces at the Akcakale crossing in Sanliurfa. Previously there have been incidents at border camps where Syrian refugees live inside the Turkish territory, but today’s incident is the first of its kind that occurred across the border.

Turkey’s state-owned Anatolian Agency (AA) reported that one police officer was killed and 11 were injured. “About a thousand Syrians wanted to enter the country without passports at the Akcakale border gate, but security forces did not allow them in,” Akcakale Mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan told AA. “When police turned them away, they started to throw rocks at our customs gate. Then they set security checkpoints on fire. We put out those fires. Then as we were thinking things had calmed down, we started to hear gunshots.”

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Categories: Al-Monitor