The road map is aimed at completing the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), and expected to cost around 27 billion YTL ($20 billion) by 2012.
The plan will be financed by privatization revenues, the unemployment insurance fund, and public and private sector joint projects. Some 16 billion YTL ($12 billion) of the total cost is expected to be financed by the central budget.
GAP, which was introduced to develop water and soil resources in the 1970s, has turned into a regional development project. Covering an area of 75,000 square kilometers (28958 square miles) in nine cities, the region features 10 percent of Turkey's population.
The GAP, which consists of 22 dam projects, aims to irrigate 57 percent of the land. However, the project could not be completed due to the lack of irrigation channel investments. The government's decision to revive the project by allocating $12.5 billion to GAP has pepped up investments in the region.
Turkey’s Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker told hurriyet.com.tr on Monday only 15 percent of the irrigation projects, and 77 percent of the energy projects of GAP had been completed and their aim is to complete 100 percent of the projects by 2012.
The government aims to increase the wealth of the region five-fold, and create employment the half of region’s the population. In 2007 the per capita income in the Marmara region reached $14,500, while it is $4,500 in eastern Anatolia and $5,200 in southeast Anatolia.
The government's road map to complete the GAP came amid political jitters caused by the closure case against the Islamist-rooted ruling party. The AKP, whose support is high in the region, had said if it is closed voters in the region could be marginalized.
Photo: Hurriyet Archives