Trucks stranded at Turkey-Iran border robbed

Some 400 Turkish trucks, most of which are loaded with vegetables and fruits, have been stuck at a border gate between Turkey and Iran since Ankara stopped traffic flows with its neighbor in the wake of its severe coronavirus outbreak. Drivers have said that they are constantly being threatened by unknown assailants who are stealing the deliveries in the trucks.

Ferhat Yaşar / Duvar

Turkish truck drivers who are stranded in Iran due to Turkey's border closure said that unknown assailants have been stealing the goods on the trucks.

“[Assailants] come at night and tear down our tents [covering the trucks]. They are beating up the drivers and robbing the trucks. They are pulling a knife on the drivers. And the Iranian police are not doing anything in the face of this,” one of the drivers named Cumali Doğar told Gazete Duvar.

InFebruary, Turkey closed its land border with Iran, shortly afterIranian officials announced several people had died from the novelcoronavirus in their country. As a result of this, Turkish truckdrivers started to use the Georgia-Azerbaijan route to reach Iran.

Ontheir way back, however, in the face of an increasing number ofcoronavirus cases across all countries, the trucks drivers foundthemselves in a situation not being able to leave Iran amid stricterborder controls.

The drivers' last resort therefore was to come to Gürbulak Customs Gate located between Turkey's eastern Ağrı province and Iran's Bazargan province in a hope that Turkish officials would temporarily open the border.

Currently,400 Turkish truck drivers are stranded on the border, waiting forTurkey to take them in. Doğar is one of these 400 drivers.

Doğarsaid that most of the trucks are carrying fruits and vegetables, butnow they have gone spoiled after waiting for many days.

“There was a toilet here, but [Iranian] officials have even shut it down. We are not being provided with food or drink. And as if all this are not enough, [assailants] are coming and popping the tires. We cannot notify this anywhere else,” he said.

“Iranian soldiers have pointed their weapons to us and detained one of our friends. And they are only saying this: The governor [of Ağrı] has closed the doors; you need to wait until a second order. We have been stuck here and cannot make our voices be heard.”

Doğar called on Turkish officials to protect them and to take them in the country.