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Struggling to keep up, conflict causes major economic setback in Turkey's poorest region

After several years of revival, the struggling economy of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern region faces collapse.
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The rekindled conflict between the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is increasingly spilling over into urban areas and claiming civilian lives. Governors in a number of cities and districts in the predominantly Kurdish southeast have imposed curfews, and military and government authorities have declared a series of special security zones in residential and rural areas, restricting the population’s freedom of movement.

With draconian security measures and restrictions on daily life on the one hand, and the unrest stirred by the PKK and its urban youth wing on the other, economic life in the impoverished region has taken a significant hit. The Kurdish peace process, assisted by a state of nonhostility between the PKK and Ankara, had revitalized the economy of the southeast, encouraging new investment projects, business initiatives and tourism. Since July 20, the situation has suffered visible setbacks, with investors suspending projects or fleeing the region.

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