Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"In discourse, almost all political parties emphasize these socioeconomic disparities; however, practical policies fall short of achieving slightest improvement in the situation."
~ DTP, Democratic Autonomy Project.

Below is the continuation of DTP's Democratic Autonomy Project document. The first part can be read here.





The need for fundamental economic changes asserts itself in order to eliminate the underdevelopment and devastation generated by the atmosphere of conflict and statist economic policies implemented throughout the history of the Republic. It is crucial to consider the experiences of those countries successfully implementing regional development focused models that render initiative to the local in the utilization of some sources according to the urgencies and priorities of regions within which the exercise of authority between the center and the local is balanced.

The initiation of effective and comprehensive policies designed for the alleviation of the current socioeconomic problems of the region is most necessary for the establishment of peace on the Kurdish Question. Nevertheless, confronting the historical and political causes of the poverty and deprivation of the region is an indispensable component for paving the way for a sustainable peace and stability through policy formation and activation. However, just as the high level of economic welfare in the Catalan and Basque regions was unable to thwart the emergence of ethnic violence and conflict, economic programs targeting the region would be unsuccessful in establishing a lasting peace unless the political and historical aspects of the socioeconomic problems of the region are confronted.

According to the 2003 data provided by the State Planning Organization (DPT), East and Southeast Anatolian Regions rank last in social and economic development indices.

14 of the 16 most backward provinces in socio-economic terms are in the East and Southeast regions of the country.

As also reflected in other welfare indices, in terms of production in agricultural, industrial and service sectors, Southeast Anatolian Region extremely lags behind other regions. The number of doctors for each ten thousand people in the most developed provinces of İstanbul, İzmir and Ankara in the western part of the country is 20, 23 and 32 respectively. These figures which are below the expected standards, also demonstrate the fact that the numbers are thirteen times higher in capital city Ankara than the eastern province of Ağrı.

In discourse, almost all political parties emphasize these socioeconomic disparities; however, practical policies fall short of achieving slightest improvement in the situation. Official statistics revealing the regional distribution of the law of incentive implemented by the AKP government through developmentalist rhetoric, investment incentives and public investments oriented towards the creation of investment and employment demonstrate that these practices fail to generate a positive outcome for the region. It is obligatory for any social and economic program to confront the political and historical causes of poverty in the region for the establishment of a just and honorable peace.


1. Establishing coordination with local dynamics, -local governments in particular- is compulsory. As revealed in the Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP) case, centralist economic policies, devoid of encouraging local participation and lacking in humanist orientation are completely deficient in their achievement of success. As is true of all social phenomena, effective dialogue between the center and the local is capable of initiating constructive consequences.

2. Some portion of compulsory levies, tax revenues and of the outcome received through local sources at the disposal of local and regional assemblies with increased authority is utilized for the solution of socioeconomic problems of people.

3. In order to reestablish the disrupted economic and social balance of the regions and to abolish regional discrepancies in development, a special incentive law aiming at the development of mining, industry based on agriculture, stock raising, tourism and labor-intensive sectors in particular, is enacted. The previous incentive law promoted all provinces equally. We express our will without hesitation for the development of all provinces regardless of their geographical location. Nevertheless, due to the atmosphere of conflict and violence, the implementation of equal investment incentives for eastern and western parts of the country would most naturally channel investor preferences to the western provinces. Therefore, we strongly emphasize the requirement for a special incentive law regarding the region.

4. The democratic autonomous regions that are established are prepared in infrastructure (transportation, communication, energy and such) for economic investments.

5. The construction of North-South and East-West Highways is the sine qua non for the strengthening of economic and social ties.

6. With respect to economic development, it is of utmost significance that the EU funds are allocated to regions taking into consideration the principle of “positive discrimination” and the establishment of democratic autonomy in the political and administrative model according to the principle of subsidiarity in the utilization of these funds.

7. Provinces such as Trabzon, Diyarbakır, Van, Erzurum are transformed into regional metropolitan areas in order to facilitate regional dynamics which will assume key role for regional socioeconomic development and to hinder outward migration.

8. The capacity of Habur entry point is increased, friendly and commercial relations are developed with Iraq and Kurdistan Federal Government and free zones are created.

9. In order to introduce a general solution to forced migration and to mitigate the pressure on cities generated by migration, suitable conditions are prepared for citizens for their return to villages, economic and social preventative measures are taken for those who wish to remain as urban residents and cooperation with local governments is established to this end. It is compulsory that the implementation of security zones is abolished and rural development projects are effectuated. Urban transformation projects are put into practice for the integration of migrants who wish to remain as urban residents; comprehensive solutions are developed for the solution of social problems including health, employment, education and sheltering.

10. Legal and administrative regulations essential for projects that provide employment in the region are initiated. In this respect, special priority is given to incentives for small and medium sized enterprises (KOBİ) and for investments, credits and subsidies, tax exemption as well as to areas of transportation, energy, information-communication as infrastructural preparation for investments The practice of additional share and positive discrimination is adopted in the allocation of incentives and public investments.

11. Apart from these long-term projects, many other problems require urgent intervention. In this respect, the government, through the utilization of special funds and in cooperation with the Department of Health and Social Services, local governments and civil society organizations, initiates social policies targeting the urgent problems of hunger, violence, sheltering, health, education, encountered by females, children, the youth and sufferers of migration.


The social and economic disaster in the region generated particularly in the last two decades, mass poverty and the traumas they have caused require urgent intervention.

The question of Domestic Displacement is by no means an object of analysis independent of the historical, ethnic and social problems of the East and Southeast Anatolian Region. Additionally, the lack of mutual confidence between the state and the citizen which grows on the “remote” and “martial” presence of the state in the region is much more aggravated by migration, poverty and social problems.

As far as its causes are concerned, the wave of migration between 1984-1999 constitutes, to a great extent a forced migration stemming from the political conditions within the context of the Kurdish Question and security concerns; unlike the migration of 1960’s and 1970’s triggered by socioeconomic conditions. Poverty, deprivation and social problems generated by conflict and displacement not only represent a violation of human rights, but also a breach of many international agreements some of which Turkey has signed as a party. During the course of the atmosphere of conflict, the region has been de-humanized on the one hand, through policies of forced migration implemented on Kurdish people, the numbers of which range between 380,000 and 3.5-4,000,000 and economic activities vital for the inhabitants of the region have been abolished on the other.


1. Return to inhabited lands is a right. All aggrieved victims of migration are entitled to benefit from this right.

2. The state must trust its citizens; the right to view its citizens as potential criminals is not bestowed on any state. For this reason, decisions regarding the specific villages to be returned will be given not security forces, but by citizens registered in that village. Security forces have the duty to provide security in the returned village; other public sectors on the other hand are charged with the elimination of grievances and the provision of necessary support for the emergence of humanly conditions of life in the returned village.

3. The system of village guards that imposes severe obstacles to the return to previously inhabited lands will be abolished. The village guards will be disarmed and employed according to their labor. Expropriated lands will be returned to their owners.

4. Prior to the return, all villages that have been evacuated, their surroundings and meadows will be cleansed of land mines. Mine fields in borderlines will be made use of in conformity with public benefit.

5. Facilities necessary for the fostering of economic activities such as apiculture, commercial growing of hothouse flowers and production of industrial plants will be supplied and encouraged. Technical and legal support will be provided for the establishment of cooperatives and unions by peasants.

6. Citizens returning to the villages will be granted privileges in the implementation of low interest livestock feeding project; a system of guarantee based on the personal assets of the receivers of the credit in question will be developed and surety will not be sought.

7. All material and moral losses caused by the forced migration that has detached millions of people from their living areas and economic relations of production will be compensated with fairness and without delay. Thus, the scope and criteria for compensation of the current Law no. 52331 will be widened; applications will be evaluated respecting efficiency and transparency. The fair compensation of the losses created by forced migration will be effectuated not only to alleviate the economic problems encountered by the people inhabiting the outer fringes of cities, but also, in accordance with the social character of the state, as the realization of the state’s responsibility towards its citizens. The law in terms of method, amount and procedure will function in favor of rehabilitation of the disrupted relationship between the citizen and the state. Unfortunately, the law has hitherto been applied towards the obliteration of the past rather than the provision of justice and solving problems.

Part C tomorrow.

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