We were with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in Diyarbakır on Sunday.
I will start explaining from the end. We were planning to talk with the prime minister during our return flight; however, our plan was cancelled. Because Prime Minister Yıldırım decided to stay in Diyarbakır at the last minute. I discovered the reason for his decision toward the morning.
Toward the morning, the prime minister attended the funerals of the soldiers who were martyred during the conflict with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists in Tendürek. Then, he visited the troops in Çukurca for their efforts in combatting the PKK.
The rights of the martyrs and the veterans take priority over our right of receiving information; thus, the prime minister's last minute decision was very appropriate.
Promising turnkey-ready factories
Now let's get back to the Diyarbakir visit...
The prime minister visited Diyarbakır with 14 ministers. A comprehensive economic package (Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı Cultural Center) including all the cities of the east and the southeast was announced. The cost of the package was estimated to be TL 140 billion and is expected to be completed in four years.
The attractive part of the package for me was the "turnkey factory project," which was a job opportunity for the youth in the area who joined the terrorist organization because they were jobless.
I will not get into the details. Prime Minister Yıldırım said, “The most exciting statement for me is the "investment" statement. Thus we have decided to invest in 23 cities in the region.”
It seems the government has rolled up its sleeves to do positive discrimination in the region. I would then like to borrow the prime minister's words at this point: “We will keep a close eye on the project.”
O.K. to all that.
The emphasis on a religious Diyarbakır on banners
A few things caught my attention during the prime minister's visit to Diyarbakır.
Firstly, I had visited Diyarbakır a few times with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The difference this time was the extraordinary security measures taken. They even had police forces surrounding cities, including Kayseri, as support. They were on a sharp lookout during the whole program.
Secondly, during earlier visits, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) would pioneer in putting up banners propagating on behalf of the terrorist organization.
This time the city was full of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and NGO banners.
For example, on our way there, we were welcomed with a banner that reads “DEAR PRIME MINISTER, WELCOME TO DİYARBAKIR, THE CITY OF PROPHETS AND HIS COMPANIONS.”
I saw banners that wrote:
“WELCOME TO THE ANCIENT CITY OF DİYARBAKIR,”
“WELCOME TO THE 5TH TEMPLE MOUNT”
The prime minister's statements on the war on terrorism were rather attention-grabbing. With a very serious and determined attitude, he said, “We will not capitulate to the bloody-handed terror organization.” There will be no reconciliation with the PKK. There is nothing to be discussed.”
'There is no reconciliation'
We also attended a collective opening ceremony that took place at Anıt Park in front of the Governor's Office. The only flag in the area was the Turkish flag and the people were shaded with a giant Turkish flag.
The prime minister continued to criticize the PKK terror organization during his speech here, too. He made reference to the words “We don't perceive the PKK as a terror organization,” that was stated by HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş in Germany saying, “Come and speak here in Dürümlü, not Germany. Come and repeat the same statements here in Diyarbakır next to the families of the soldiers that were killed.”
FETO asked the PKK to 'assassinate' and assured that they would pay the price
The prime minister met NGOs and opinion leaders during dinner. We heard something that I had never heard of before: FETO had been in contact with the PKK before and after the July 15 coup attempt. In their meeting after the coup attempt, they asked the PKK, “Assassinate the president and the prime minister and we will pay whatever the price.”
One other thing that we were told during dinner was the answer we got to the question, “What will happen to the 14,000 teachers in the region?” The prime minister said, “Teachers with links to the PKK will first be temporarily laid off from their jobs. Then they will have the same conditions as FETÖ.”
Diyarbakır is strangely quiet
I didn't visit Sur this time. But I found the chance to walk in Yenişehir instead. The city was strangely quiet. I had people running after me saying “Dear hodja, listen to what we have to say” and others just watching quietly...
I visited the area a few times during the reconciliation process. I witnessed statements that started with “Yes, but...” Statements that supported the PKK in some way or another. I didn't come across such comments this time. I don't know what the ones watching quietly were thinking; but, nearly all of the people that approached me and talked said, “That is enough. We want this to end. The state should put an end to this.” There are many expectations, especially in regards to the houses that were bombed in Sur and its surrounding areas. And that is hopefully being worked on by the government that came to the region with 15 ministers.
İn conclusion, the ancient city of Diyarbakır, is one of this region's most important cities. Both the government and locals know this. What I know is: Turkey is great because we have Diyarbakır in our borders!