The Turkish government plans to move the provincial centers of the southeastern provinces of Hakkari and Şırnak to their respective districts of Yüksekova and Cizre, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced.
“We may make some administrative moves such as converting Cizre and Yüksekova into provincial centers because their settings are very convenient for this. We are working on the expansion of cities in regards to Cizre in Şırnak and Yüksekova in Hakkari” he said en route to London.
Hakkari borders Iran and Iraq, while Şırnak is located on Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Syria.
“What we will do after these three accomplishments is normalize the flow of life, revive economic life and provide security in every neighborhood” he said, noting that urban transformation would be a part of this effort.
Davutoğlu, however, cautioned that the plan would not be solely confined to “public works and zoning.”
“While Şırnak is located in a very narrow space, Cizre has a very wide space. Likewise, Hakkari’s expansion is difficult while Yüksekova is expanding. However, since it has not been transformed into a provincial structure, the infrastructure for security or services in line with that expansion is not possible,” he said.
When asked to confirm whether “the provincial centers would be moved,” Davutoğlu said: “We are planning this. That’s to say, it is one of the things we have been working on.”
The prime minister also pledged to renovate historical buildings in the Sur district of Diyarbakır, which is famous for its medieval city walls, while dismissing claims that the plans would pave the way for voracious property developers to line their own pockets as has been seen elsewhere in Turkey.
“I will personally follow the issue; all of those historical works of art will be restored” Davutoğlu said. “We will not let even a single element of land speculation enter there” he added.
“For example in Sur, buildings which are not historical and which are wrecked will be removed. As the most important locations of ancient history, Sur has become a focus of terror and destruction” Davutoğlu said. “These [wrecks] will be removed, and they will be turned into humanly livable places” he added.