Gov’t outlines massive investment program to terror-hit east
DHA photoThe Turkish government has outlined a massive investment package to terror-hit eastern and southeastern Anatolian regions by creating zones in 23 cities in the hopes of addressing the socioeconomic root causes of militancy and reducing the economic disparity level between the eastern and western parts of the country.
“We are here to fairly share the resources of the country as equal citizens. We are here to reduce the regional development disparity to a minimum level. We are one and together. We are here for investment, production and jobs. We are here for justice, peace, welfare, comfort, democracy and the rule of law,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said at the beginning of a long statement as he revealed his government’s investment package for the region in Diyarbakır on Sept. 4.
“We are here in Diyarbakır to strengthen our brotherhood, to make the east and southeast happy and to embrace,” Yıldırım said.
The government’s investment package addresses the needs of 23 provinces in the eastern and southeastern Anatolian region that have been severely hit by fighting between the state and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since mid-2015. It also aims to reconstruct seven districts, including the Sur district of Diyarbakır, which have been fully ruined because of clashes between the state and the PKK since late 2015.
“At first, we are investing 10 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion) in seven districts that have been severely hit by terror,” Yıldırım said, listing them as Sur, Şırnak, Silopi, İdil, Cizre, Yüksekova and Nusaybin. A total of 36,000 new houses will be built in these provinces, while a special emphasis will be given to Sur, whose Roman-era walls are listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Three new stadiums will be built in Batman, Diyarbakır and Malatya, 15 new hospitals will be built in the entire region along with 67,000 new houses, Yıldırım said, adding that 11 new police stations would also be erected in an effort to halt militancy in the region.
The state will also deliver food and clothes and will provide aid for education, shelter and transportation to citizens who have suffered from the clashes, he said, adding that the region would have more social service centers for women and youth.
Zones in the east
Besides these steps, the government will undertake more projects to gear up investment, production and job creation in the region with a massive incentive program. “The best answer to terror is to make investments relentlessly,” Yıldırım said.
Informing that 23 cities had been re-grouped under five regions as “zones of attraction,” Yıldırım said the state would provide land and build factories for those who want to run a business in concerned cities. “We will build 10 factories in eight of the 23 cities every year. That means 80 new factories annually. Each of them will recruit between 200 and 800 workers. That corresponds to employment for 40,000,” he said.
The project will help businessmen invest in the region and address the growing problem of unemployment among the youth, he said, underlining that the government’s struggle against terrorism would continue relentlessly. “If we do not resolve the terror problem, all these projects will be delayed. Therefore, our imminent job is to clear the entire region of terror,” he added.
From 4,000 to 400
While vowing that the fight against the PKK would continue non-stop, Yıldırım said the terrorist organization was suffering a problem in “deceiving” the youngsters of the region to join the group. “In the year of 2015, the number of youngsters joining the PKK was 4,000. It has dropped to 400 this year. This number will be zero. That’s why they are in panic. They can’t find youngsters to have die,” Yıldırım said, adding the government would take all measures to stop youngsters from joining the PKK.
PM slams HDP’s Demirtaş
In his address, Yıldırım strongly reacted against Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-leader of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), who argued the PKK was not a terrorist organization but a violent organization. “Instead of making this statement from Germany, you better come and tell this in the villages of Tanışık and Dürümlü in Diyarbakır where you massacred six innocent people,” he said.
“The PKK is not a terror organization, is that so? Who kills all these fallen soldiers and civilians?” asked the prime minister, saying the country was facing a great danger of separation. “We will never allow this.
Operations will continue until security conditions will allow 79 million to safely travel from one place to another, day or night,” he said, while repeating that there would be no peace process with the PKK. “There will be no resolution with a terror organization. The solution is with our people, with our citizens.”