PM: Turkey to invest $12 bln in Kurdish package

Erdogan said they plan to invest 11-12 billion dollars over five years to build two large dams and a system of water canals, complete paved roads and remove land mines from the fields along the Syrian border.

PM: Turkey to invest $12 bln in Kurdish package
Turkish government is planning a broad series of investments worth as much as 12 billion dollars in the country's southeast, in a new economic effort intended to create jobs and drain support for outlawed PKK, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with The New York Times (NYT) on Tuesday.

According to the report Erdogan said they plan to invest 11-12 billion dollars over five years to build two large dams and a system of water canals, complete paved roads and remove land mines from the fields along the Syrian border.

Erdogan reminded in the interview that Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren is in charge of visiting the largely Kurdish cities. Erdogan is expected to deliver the long awaited economic and political package to improve Kurdish population's life standards on April 6 in a visit to southeastern cities, a former adviser has said on Monday.

Erdogan added the fight against PKK is not only military means but also has socioeconomic aspects. Turkey conducted an eight-day ground offensive into Iraq against PKK positions, and Erdogan told NYT the United States had been fully behind it. "Turkey is not a guest," Erdogan added.

"Everyone who has entered Iraq until now will stay for a while and go away, but we will stay. We are the most important door for northern Iraq to open up to the world. We are the healthiest door" he said.

"I can openly and freely say that this short process has been done with the total understanding of Turkey, the United States and the central government of Iraq. But the fight against terrorism is not only this. It also has a socioeconomic part, a psychological part, a cultural part", Erdogan said.

"We have relatives in northern Iraq. And people living there have relatives in our southeastern region. With whom will we have good relations other than with ourselves?"

Efforts to improve relations with Iraq include plans to open a consulate in the southern city of Basra, Mr. Erdogan said. Turkey has an embassy in Baghdad and a consulate in Mosul, a major city in the north.

The television channel will also include Persian and Arabic, Mr. Erdogan said, and should be running in several months. "This will be the most important step providing cultural rights to the region," he said.

NYT

Last Mod: 12 Mart 2008, 16:43
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