Reuters International

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2016. Hakan Goktepe/Prime Minister's Press Office/Handout via REUTERS


By Melih Aslan

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey will invest 10 billion lira (2.55 billion pounds) in rebuilding areas in the largely Kurdish southeast that have been damaged by heavy fighting between militants and the state, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday.

Turkey's southeast has been hit by waves of violence following the collapse of a 2-1/2-year ceasefire between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the state last year.

The government has previously estimated some 6,000 buildings have been destroyed in security operations, and put the cost of replacing them at 1 billion lira ($345 million).

"We are investing 10 billion lira," Yildirim said in a speech in Diyarbakir, the region's largest city. "Instead of houses destroyed by the PKK we are building beautiful houses."

He said the government would invest in seven provincial centres across the southeast, and build houses, mosques and hospitals. The government will also focus on rebuilding Diyarbakir's historic Sur district, he said.

Sur's Roman-era walls are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, the district sustained heavy damage in fighting this year, leading to concern it may be beyond repair.

(Additonal reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in London; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Mark Potter and Stephen Powell)


 Reuters International