No ‘urban transformation’ by state agency in Diyarbakır: Turkish Deputy PM
AA photoThe state housing agency will not be involved in the rebuilding of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır’s Sur district, the scene of months-long clashes between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has vowed.
The PKK has been “lying” by claiming that the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) will destroy historical buildings in Sur in order to build “10-15 story” buildings, Kurtulmuş said in an interview with a local TV station late on April 16 during a visit to the Black Sea province of Ordu.
“This is a complete lie. TOKİ will not have any work in Sur. I’m saying this clearly. TOKİ will not have any urban transformation work,” Kurtulmuş said, speaking of the district which is surrounded by UNESCO-listed Roman-era walls.
“All of these historical buildings will be rebuilt in line with their original form,” he added.
In late January, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu promised to rebuild areas damaged in the operations and vowed to turn Sur into a “new Toledo,” a reference to the Spanish city which was once a center of learning and co-existence between the three main religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. A famous fortress there was badly damaged in the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and was restored.
The government has recently revealed plans to demolish and rebuild a number of districts in the region, including Sur, badly damaged by clashes between militants and the Turkish security forces.