$660 mln in investments introduced to southeast
Senior officials from the government accompanied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend to inaugurate a series of investment projects worth $660 million in Turkey's relatively underdeveloped southeastern region. The new investments include a number of projects to build housing, sports facilities, and schools in the province of Siirt along with a coal energy production plant in neighboring province Sirnak. The investments come amid calls from NGOs and the government for the Turkish business world to boost capital flow to Southeast, home to most of the country's predominantly Kurdish cities. Turkish authorities have been holding peace talks with terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan since last October with the aim of achieving a timetable for the ending a decades-old conflict that has claimed over 40,000 lives. Erdogan on Friday and Saturday participated in the opening of separate facilities and housing projects of the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) in Siirt, representing a total investment of $60 million. He later inaugurated a coal plant built by Turkey's Ciner Holding in Sirnak's Silopi. The plant has three separate terminals and was built at a price of $600 million. The first energy terminal, with 135 megawatts of electricity capacity, is already operational, with the other two pending finalization. Erdogan said the government places heavy importance on minimizing dependence on foreign energy resources, adding they will accelerate efforts to make better use of local energy sources, including coal, in the southeastern Anatolia region.