March 2015

In 2007, in an historic car journey, travel writer Richard Meredith and his co-pilot Phil Colley, became the first to cross the 10,000-mile new Asian Highway from East to West.

A highlight was Turkey, where Asia meets Europe and where today an international row has erupted as Islamic fighters cross to join the war in Syria. Yet even then, the author was warning that border controls were woefully inadequate…

A toothless drawbridge

After just a few more miles we came to the barriers. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but when I thought of all the responsibilities that would be facing them, I had envisioned a frontier at Kapukile where officials of every description would be lined up to check vehicles, passengers and contents, and where the barrier would be heavily fortified and probably manned by regiments of police and guards ready to deal with people smugglers. Surely too there would be electronic devices to spot illegal goings on, and other deterrents like sniffer dogs and hot-pursuit vehicles ready to catch anyone who tried to make a run for it? The reality however, was something very different. According to an information notice we found, Kapukile was already laying claim to being the largest border crossing point in Europe, but as ‘drawbridges’ go, it was a serious letdown.

Driven Together Ch 11, P 156 (Word Go, 2008)