Diyarbakır’s ruined Sur to be rebuilt ‘like Spain’s Toledo,’ vows Turkish PM
Akif Beki – RIYADH
Photograph displays Spain's Toledo (L) and Turkey's Sur.Diyarbakır’s historical Sur district will be rebuilt to erase the scars of weeks-long clashes between security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, citing Spain’s reconstruction of historic Toledo as an example.
“We will reconstruct Diyarbakır’s Sur so beautifully that it will become a tourist attraction with its architectural texture,” Davutoğlu told reporters during an official visit to the Saudi capital Riyadh.
According to the prime minister, the devastated Sur district will be rebuilt “just like Toledo,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was renovated after it endured a siege during the Spanish Civil War.
“The houses of Diyarbakır that are recognized as historical heritage sites, its mosques, churches and inns will be restored without any harm to their architectural texture,” Davutoğlu added.
He also said Turkey’s southeastern cities were examples of “unplanned urbanization” as they rapidly developed particularly during the 1990s.
“Even if such events [clashes] had not taken place, these cities would have to be rebuilt under urban transformation projects,” Davutoğlu added.
The Sur district, well known for a number of historical sites including the Great Mosque of Diyarbakır, the Kurşunlu Mosque and the Sheikh Matar Mosque, has been hit with violence amidst a round-the-clock curfew declared on Dec. 14 to combat PKK militants. The curfew was expanded on Jan. 27 to include five additional neighborhoods.