Rebuild of curfew-hit town set to begin: PM

Rebuild of curfew-hit town set to begin: PM

Rebuild of curfew-hit town set to begin: PM

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A “great reconstruction” effort is set to begin for homes and other buildings damaged in clashes between security forces and militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern district of Silopi, Turkey’s prime minister has said.

“A great reconstruction [effort for damaged homes and buildings] will start tomorrow in Silopi,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters on March 4, during an unannounced visit to Silopi, a district in southeastern Şırnak province which saw a blanket curfew between Dec. 14, 2015, and Jan. 19.

Underscoring that Turkish authorities had drafted a large-scale reconstruction plan for buildings severely damaged in clashes with PKK militants in Silopi, Davutoğlu said he and several other cabinet ministers, including Interior Minister Efkan Ala, National Education Minister Nabi Avcı, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, Family and Social Policies Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu and Environment and Urbanization Minister Fatma Güldemet Sarı, who accompanied the Turkish premier on his visit to the southeastern town, would make future visits to other southeastern towns.

In addition to Silopi, Sur, a district in southeastern Diyarbakır province and Cizre, a district in Şırnak, have seen months-long curfews which subjected local residents to power blackouts, food and water shortages and destroyed neighborhoods. Fierce clashes between PKK militants and security forces have also halted education and health services in the towns placed under curfew.

“All infrastructural needs of Silopi will be met, including those that are defined in the job description of local municipalities,” Davutoğlu said, speaking outside the Silopi District Governor’s Office after performing his Friday prayer at a mosque in the town.

Davutoğlu said all hospitals were providing health services without any stoppage and that all schools, except one under reconstruction, were providing education services.

“Two mosques have been damaged. All the rest were reviewed and ready for worship,” he added.

“There has been days of sorrow. We are currently [engaged in] comprehensive work to compensate this pain,” said the Turkish premier, warning of provocative acts which he said Turkey may face in the following days.

“We’ve gone over all the steps to be taken in Silopi along with our ministers. These steps, actually, cover all those needed to be taken in the region,” he added.

Davutoğlu said the Turkish administration was following up each development in the region in detail and iterated that the ministries in charge of what he calls the “repairment process” were making efforts toward compensation.  

“We will provide financial aid to locals whose homes have been slightly damaged,” Davutoğlu said, adding that homes and stores which have been subjected to serious destruction would be incorporated into urban transformation.

The Environment and Urbanization Ministry conducts urban transformation projects in regions in need of “the cleaning of buildings that may pose risks for human health and safety” and to “build more livable housing.”

These efforts are implemented jointly by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) under the Prime Ministry.