Many of the problems that occur in the national security area should be sought at the border. Because undoubtedly, there is no element more important than the element of security and providing peace and calm in the society, for the progress, development and unilateral evolution, as well as the flourishing of talents, and social development. Creativity and valuable activity are not possible without security. The negative effects of border areas’ insecurity in the villages are more than cities. Because, rural areas are more vulnerable due to the developmental gap between villages and cities. Due to the vulnerability of the border villages, it is necessary to ensure the security of the villages through passive defense measures.
West Azerbaijan Province with 980 km of common land border with Iraq, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan and possessing ethnic cultural diversities has not been an exception to this rule. The conditions of the eight years of the imposed war, the crises of the neighboring countries of Iraq, Azerbaijan and ethnic conflicts in Turkey have caused insecurity in the geographical boundaries of the West Azerbaijani province. In this regard, the present research investigates the spatial structure and assessment of the vulnerability of rural settlements in the border regions of Iran and Turkey with an emphasis on passive defense approach.
Materials & Methods
The study area includes parts of West Azerbaijan province which is bordered by Turkey and includes the cities of Maku, Chaldoran, Khoy, Salmas and Urmia, and 1259 villages with a population of 568843. The main method of this research is descriptive-analytical. In order to carry out the spatial analysis of the rural settlements in the border regions of Iran and Turkey with regard to the passive defense approach, the eight major criteria (water resources, natural hazards, landforms, security considerations, climate, demographic considerations, access to facilities, land quality) were selected with 17 sub-criteria based on internal and external sources investigation. Then, using the network analysis process, the amount of importance coefficients of the criteria have been determined. In the next stage, the information layers were produced by the GIS in proportion to the indicators, and were integrated with regard to the capabilities of the GIS, and the extent of the vulnerability of settlements was extracted through the overlapping of the information layers.
Results & Discussion
Based on the results, security considerations with a score of 0.349 have the highest effect and significance. Meanwhile, the index of the distance from the border has the highest role with the rate of 0.1021. Demographic considerations with a score of 0.232, and environmental hazards with a score of 0.150 stand next with respect to the importance. In the cluster of demographic considerations, population density with a score of 0.0231, and in the cluster of environmental hazards, the distance from the flood-prone areas with a score of 0.0078 have had the highest effect. Among the main criteria examined, the quality of land and water resources are the least important with the importance rate of 0.019 and 0.026, respectively. Based on the results obtained, 17.9% of the study area was found to be a highly vulnerable zone. 123 villages with 8.3% of the population of the study area are located in this zone. The zone with the high vulnerability covers 17.5% of the area. 243 villages with 18% of the population are located in this zone.
The overall results of this research showed that by adopting a passive defense approach, the natural and human threats of border rural areas could be reduced. In this regard, in this research, in order to analyze the spatial structure of rural settlements in the border regions of Iran and Turkey with a passive defense approach, eight major criteria were identified.
Security considerations with a score of 0.349 have the highest significance and impact on analyzing the rural settlements of the border areas of Iran and Turkey in terms of passive defense. Meanwhile, the index of the distance from the border with the rate of 0.1021 has the highest role with respect to the passive defense approach. In the next stage, demographic considerations with a score of 0.232 and environmental hazards with a score of 0.150 stand in terms of importance. Given these findings, the following solutions are proposed:
• Identifying and eliminating the damages caused by the proximity of villages to the border point and the observation of the transboundary threats.
• Creating job diversification among the border villages to reduce rural dependency on land.
• Promoting the role and functions of border cities, including mid-range cities, in comprehensive rural development.
• Encouraging people to stay in villages through investing in rural infrastructure.
• Enhancement of the presence of military and law enforcement forces at the border level.