Agricultural land in Turkey's southeast, where a dry climate prevails, have started to flourish under a massive irrigation scheme by the state. The majority of irrigation projects will be concluded next year, officials say, as part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), a state plan to revive the stunted economy of the region.
Sadrettin Karahocagil, head of the GAP Directorate, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that an irrigation network already serves thousands of acres of land and they plan to accomplish irrigation of the larger region in 2019, helping farmers to boost their income. "We completed canals to supply water to plains in the provinces of Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Diyarbakır and Gaziantep and are currently working on bringing water to fields by installing irrigation networks. When the dam project in Silvan (a district in Diyarbakır) is completed, we will be able to supply water to an area of more than 1 million hectares," he said.
The GAP, conceived two decades ago, seeks to tap into dormant potential of the region plagued with decades of terrorism by the PKK. Along with irrigation, it includes education and social programs aimed at impoverished families. The region witnessed mass migration to western cities in the past due to lack of employment and terrorism.