HDP submits bill for oil revenue sharing with local governments
DHA PhotoA People’s Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker for the southeastern province of Batman, which is home to Turkey’s biggest oilfield, has presented a legal proposal to share the central government’s oil revenues with local administrations, in a move that has been seen as a vital step for autonomy by Kurdish politicians.
The bill submitted to Parliament by HDP Batman Deputy Ayla Akat Ata calls for the transfer of half of the state share yielded from oil drilling to the municipality of the province in which oil is produced. The draft would entail amendments to the Turkish Petroleum, Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and Municipal laws.
The proposal would also permit the TPAO to transfer its authorities to give oil exploration and operation permits and licenses to institutions named by the law. The municipalities’ income items would also be expanded to include the state share in oil resources in the bill.
“Although most of the oil extracted in Turkey is extracted from Batman and the surrounding provinces, the income earned from oil makes no contribution to the economy of the region,” Akat Ata said in the justification for the bill.
“Although one-fifth of Turkey’s oil needs are procured by the Batman refinery, the province had the highest unemployment rate across the country in 2011 and 2012, according to TÜİK [Turkish Statistical Institute] data,” she said.
“In this regard, it is necessary to transfer some of these revenues to local governments to enable them to reach people. This way, subsidiarity and locality principles, which are requirements for democracy, could be partly secured and the sovereignties of local governments would be raised,” she said.
Diyarbakır Metropolitan Co-Mayor Gültan Kışanak, the former co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), told Al-Jazeera Turk in April that they would seek to obtain local governments’ share from local economic and energy sources.
“Of course we want an [oil] cut, we want our cut from all energy sources, underground and above ground; we want to take advantage of all the economic wealth. Locals must have their share,” she said.