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60 percent of Sur district to be expropriated after conflict

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The government has moved to expropriate 60 percent of the district of Sur, in southeast Diyarbakir province after army operations against the PKK lasting over 100 days, reduced the historical site to rubble.

According to a report in the Özgür Düşünce daily, 18 neighborhoods of the Sur district, which were scene to heavy fighting between the Turkish Armed forces (TSK) and the police against the terrorist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), will be expropriated after a cabinet decree.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in February, during his visit to Saudi Arabia that the government will reconstruct Sur, which is located next to the ancient Diyarbakır city walls and has been the scene of days-long curfews, violent clashes, civilian deaths and migration since July, to resemble Toledo, a medieval city in Spain that is a tourism hotspot.

Sur, which is listed as a World Heritage UNESCO, was subject to round-the-clock curfews since the start of December 2015, as security forces tried to remove PKK militants from the urban center. The Silopi and Cizre districts of Şırnak province, also in the Southeast but closer to the Syrian and Iraqi borders, have also been under on-off curfews since mid-December. Security forces removed 329 improvised explosive devices within Sur.

The immovable properties in 363 points around Sur will be transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning as the buildings in 18 neighborhoods of Sur will be demolished to make way for new ones. Those who own land or property within the expropriated zones of Sur will be paid in installments.

The neighborhoods which will undergo expropriation and urban re-development are: Abdaldede, Alipaşa, Cemal Yılmaz, Camiikebir, Cevatpaşa, Dabanoğlu, Hasırlı, İnönü, İskenderpaşa, Lalebey, Malikahmet, Özdemir, Süleymangazi, Savaş, Şemhane, Ziya Gökalp, Köşkler and Yenişehir neighborhoods.

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