Law passed to restore historic district hit by PKK clashes

Published 16.04.2016 00:00

Parliament late Thursday passed a bill to restore the Sur district in southeastern Diyarbakır province, bringing leaders' pledges to restore the area closer to fulfillment.

Large urban areas such as Sur and Cizre in Şırnak province suffered severe damage in months of fighting between security forces and the outlawed PKK, which used explosives for ambushes.

Parts of Sur, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, were particularly badly hit. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said earlier this month that Sur would be restored and Diyarbakır's stalled economy reinvigorated after the anti-terror operations. "In all circumstances, the fight against terrorism will be conducted determinedly, and we will not stop until each street of Diyarbakır and every home in Sur finds peace and security," Davutoğlu said. "Unfortunately, 26 hotels were closed due to these incidents, and many shopkeepers had to close their shops. We will support re-opening all of these one by one," he added.

On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated the government's determination to rebuild areas in the southeast where anti-terror operations to clear the region of the PKK have ended.

The operation in Sur, which ended March 9, had sealed off the district since December, as security forces fought PKK terrorists, filled in ditches, removed barricades and defused explosives. Sur was one of a series of towns and neighborhoods where security forces conducted anti-terror operations to root out the PKK, which renewed its armed campaign against the Turkish state last July.

A series of counterterrorism operations were launched across the southeast in December to oust terrorism following the PKK's resumption of attacks in July that ended the two-and-a-half-year reconciliation process to end the 30-year conflict that had claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people. Since summer, more than 350 members of the security forces have been killed, while the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has lost thousands of fighters.

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