Following peace process, Turkey’s Kurdish region enjoys flourishing tourism

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Diyarbakır Ulu Camii

ARA News

Diyarbakir; Urfa, Turkey – After more than one year of the Peace Road Map in Turkey, following negotiations between Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and Haqan Fidan, head of the Turkish intelligence, Kurdish regions in Turkey witnessed flourishing tourism.

Based on Turkish official statistics, number of tourists in Urfa reached 605 thousand, Mardin 351 thousand, Van 338 thousand, and Diyarbakir 230 thousand so far in 2014.

While in the Kurdish southeast regions in general, numbers exceeded 2 million, with an increase of 43.7% comparing to 2013.

“After the peace plan, tourism was supported by advertizing campaigns to the cultural and touristic facilities,” Turkish local media reported last week. “There are 293 centers and sites serviced by more than 44,687 hotel beds, including Sirnak region which witnessed clashes between PKK and the Turksih army for years before the start of the Kurdish-Turkish peace process. Large areas of this territory were prohibited military zones.”

Approximately 230 thousand tourists visited Sirnak in the last 6 months, local sources reported.

Head of the Turkish Tourism Investors’ Assembly stated to local media that tourism-related profits are still small in the southern parts in comparison with northern Turkish territories.

Speaking to ARA News, Nizam Bayram, director of ASMA company for estates in Diyarbakir, said: “The peace process has a remarkably positive impact on investments, especially pertaining the internal and external tourism that increased in the Kurdish regions of Turkey.”

“Many families came back to their villages and towns following peace. There are many projects of accommodation and hotels in the region,” Bayram said.

He also talked bout the huge prosperity Diyarbakir witnessed in the last two years.

Observers find tourism important to raise livelihood level and reinforce the Kurdish-Turkish peace process, especially after the economical welfare realized by people.

Today, popular tendency pushes for the progress of peace process between the PKK and the Turkish Government following their 30-year conflict which claimed lives of more than 35 thousand men from both sides.

 

Reporting by: Badr Mustafa and Redwan Bizar

Source: ARA News

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