The violent repression of the Kurdish people is well documented. But arriving in Diyarbakir as part of a delegation from the UK, the first thing that strikes me is the poverty that is clearly visible on the streets. This is not a rich city; this is not a wealthy region. The sky scrapers and high-end restaurants of Istanbul are a long way away. But with the Turkish Government unwilling to step in to help, and indeed promoting policies to keep the Kurdish regions underdeveloped, people here are having to take the situation into their own hands.
A study by the Union of SouthEast Anatolian Region Municipalities (GABB) shows the South Eastern provinces making up the lowest 21 ranks out of Turkey’s 81 provinces in nearly all socio-economic indicators. In spite of the region’s 16% share of the population and underdevelopment, it only receives 8.5% of the local administration spending, and attracts hardly any investment for major infrastructure projects. Continue reading