New provinces

New provinces

Two provinces are set to be formed: Yüksekova will replace Hakkari, while Cizre will replace Şırnak. These two were declared by ex-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during his term.  

Interior Minister Efkan Ala, during his presentation on terror at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Central Decision-Making Council (MKYK), said they had not given up their goal of making Cizre and Yüksekova the centers of their provinces.  

Well, what about Erciş (Van) and Midyat in Mardin province? A group in AK Party is suggesting that Erciş and Midyat should also be made separate provinces. They point this out at every opportunity. There is an opinion that they deserve to be provinces, but there is no ongoing work for them at the moment. It is Yüksekova and Cizre that are on the agenda.

Meanwhile, in light of the new assessments both in the cabinet and at the authorized councils of the AK Party, I can say that a new period has started in the fight against terror. There is a transition to the fight against terror from the fight against the terrorist.  

An all-embracing approach is adopted that sees the people of the region not as responsible for the terror incidents experienced but as the victims of them. We can sum it up as healing the wounds of the terror victims, ensuring integration with the region and listening to the problems of the regional population. 

However, while this is being done, one thing will not be overlooked: the fight against terrorists. During the summer months, the fiercest fight in rural areas will continue. 

During the MKYK last week, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli and Ala made a comprehensive presentation. The interior minister explained the phase reached in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), particularly the Lice operation. “The urban wars are completely over. The PKK has been defeated but our fight is not over. Our struggle with the terror organization is continuing in rural regions,” he said.

Ala assessed the Lice operation from the angle of the fight against drugs more than the fight against terror. However, it is based on a different concept. He said the income resources of the PKK will be clamped down upon. Drugs constitute one of the major income sources of the organization but the interior minister does not limit this to drug money only. He said, “All kinds of monetary resources of the organization will be cracked down upon. There is no return from this.”

There is an opinion that the money sent to municipalities run by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) from the İller Bank is channeled to the organization. Measures have been reviewed to prevent this. One of the arrangements is the law on appointing trustees to municipalities.  

Studies on this have not started yet but there are thoughts on taking measures about public employees who support the PKK. There are indications and evidence that certain teachers encourage students to join the organization and that they assist in recruiting. Certain health personnel treat injured terrorists during urban wars, it has been reported, and mullahs (Kurdish mele) who have been appointed a while ago by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) conduct propaganda for the organization. To be able to take measures, the State Personnel Law No. 657 should be amended.    

Ala, after declaring that urban wars were totally over, said: “We are continuing with our measures to prevent the organization from becoming influential again in these areas. New police stations have started being set up in districts and neighborhoods.” 

Canikli is in charge of the economy management as well as the coordination of investments to the region. He explained that they were engaged in a two-leg effort for the development of the region with state investments and private sector investments: “The state will build factories in the region.” He also mentioned that incentives for the private sector will be introduced and individual projects would be supported. The package is not limited to the economic dimension only. A new phase will start with the incentives system.