The government presented a draft law to clear anti-personnel and anti-tank mine fields, as well as unexploded ammunition on the Turkish Syrian border, and to launch tenders to start agricultural activities on the cleared fields.
The tender for mine clearing will be carried out directly by the Finance Ministry and will not be tied to the Public Procurement Law. Foreign or domestic firms that will remove explosives will also have the right to operate the field as an agricultural production site.
The law excludes military zones delineated by the Ministerial Board and their periphery that will be reserved for the installation of physical security systems, even if those sites are located on a minefield.
The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry will codetermine the priority of lands to be cleared. Oil Law provisions will be reserved for any oil or other resources that may be discovered below the minefields and the state will keep the right for exploitation in those instances.
Fields expected to be cleared in five years
The draft law stipulates that contractors will complete minesweeping within five years after they take over the lands.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has called for several tenders via the Finance Ministry in recent years, to remove mines from the 780 kilometers-long and 508 million square meter-large area that covers portions of Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak and Mardin and transfer their use through a build operate transfer model for 49 years.
Thirteen foreign companies responded to the tender; four British, three Israeli and one from Ukraine, Croatia, Russia, France, Denmark and Sweden each.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) challenged the government's permission for foreign participation in the tender, and argued that cleared fields should be handed over to farmers.
The Council of State ordered a stay of execution on the ministry's minesweeping tender, which led the government to draft a law to overcome resistance against these plans.
This draft is expected to be discussed and adopted by Parliament.
Last Mod: 14 Mart 2008, 16:53