The residents of the Derecik district in southeastern Hakkari province who left their homes due to mounting PKK activities have returned, as the region has been cleared of the PKK presence thanks to security forces' successful counterterrorism operations in the region. Now they enjoy their lives in their hometowns. Following the clearance of areas near the Balkaya Mountains bordering Iraq from PKK terrorists, citizens now live in peace and security and have started agricultural activities with financial support provided by state funds.
Stock farming and beekeeping are other economic activities that have been benefiting from the rich flora of the region and the state's support funds. The Directorate of Provincial Agriculture and Forestry has also provided significant support to the residents of Derecik where there is a high potential for agriculture and stock farming due to regional advantages.
Serdar Çetintaş, a citizen in Koçyiğit village in the district, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they had to leave their homes in 1992 because of PKK activities. He added that they returned to their homes two years ago.
Stating that they have started agricultural and farming activities thanks to the peaceful environment created by security forces, he said, "We are happy to return to our homes that we missed for years."
"I hope that there will be more beautiful things. With the support of our state, we will build new houses. There is security here in the last two years. We comfortably come here and villagers plant in their gardens. They bring their animals here and feed. We have peace now," Çetintaş said, adding he also does beekeeping thanks to the state's supportive initiatives. Derecik Mayor Ekrem Çetinkaya said that the region is very favorable for agricultural and farming activities and added: "We are very satisfied with our state. Our region has been cleared of terror."
Due to terror attacks that started to affect the region in the 1990s, many citizens in the southeast had to abandon their homes and lands. While Turkey's nearly 40-year counterterrorism fight against the PKK continues, terrorists expelled from urban areas returned to mountainous regions thanks to successful counterterrorism operations in recent years.
Following elimination of the PKK from eastern cities, the government began investing huge amounts of money to fix infrastructure and public services. Intensive reconstruction in the southeast – budgeted in the billions – include housing, health and education projects, restoration of historical buildings, mosques and churches and recreation work under the leadership of the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.
Şırnak reconstructs buildings PKK wrecked 3 years ago
The Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning has been building houses for residents in southeastern Şırnak province where houses were demolished in PKK terrorist attacks three years ago. Şırnak Governor Ali Hamza Pehlivan and Şırnak Mayor Mehmet Yarka visited the houses built by the ministry. Pehlivan said: "Our state has been rebuilding Şırnak. Troubles of the past have been left behind. Our citizens have been getting their houses. After that, the process will move faster."
In 2015 and 2016, brutal actions by the PKK caused key provinces in southeastern Anatolia to suffer from terrorist activities. When peace finally came, the provinces were faced with heavily damaged cityscapes, as infrastructure and public spaces, such as schools and mosques, were no longer functional. Today, these provinces have revived thanks to reconstruction by the state, leaving memories of the PKK's terrorist activities behind. So far, thousands of houses, workplaces, mosques and schools have been restored by various state institutions under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization.
In Şırnak, roads have been renewed and lit, and 86 schools have been restored and are ready for education. Sixteen schools were damaged in Şırnak's city center. However, in its towns, the number was 84. Some 12 schools, which became unusable, were demolished and new projects launched to rebuild them. At least 11 mosques were destroyed, while 13 others were damaged. Those 13 mosques are being restored and opened for worship. To replace the destroyed ones, on the other hand, 45 others are being built in the city.