September 4, 2016 / 12:34 PM / 3 years ago

Turkey to invest $3.4 billion in rebuilding southeast, PM says

A man takes pictures of the damaged walls of a mosque with his mobile phone in Sur district in the Kurdish domainated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey will invest 10 billion lira ($3.4 billion) in rebuilding areas in the largely Kurdish southeast that have been damaged by heavy fighting between militants and the state, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday.

Turkey’s southeast has been hit by waves of violence following the collapse of a 2-1/2-year ceasefire between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the state last year.

The government has previously estimated some 6,000 buildings have been destroyed in security operations, and put the cost of replacing them at 1 billion lira ($345 million).

“We are investing 10 billion lira,” Yildirim said in a speech in Diyarbakir, the region’s largest city. “Instead of houses destroyed by the PKK we are building beautiful houses.”

He said the government would invest in seven provincial centers across the southeast, and build houses, mosques and hospitals. The government will also focus on rebuilding Diyarbakir’s historic Sur district, he said.

Sur’s Roman-era walls are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, the district sustained heavy damage in fighting this year, leading to concern it may be beyond repair.

Additonal reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in London; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Mark Potter and Stephen Powell

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