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Turkish PM promises to give 11 provinces metropolitan status

10 May 2011 [13:14] - TODAY.AZ
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an election rally in Kahramanmaraş on Sunday announced that 11 of Turkey's provinces with populations above 750,000 will be promoted to metropolitan city status -- an administrative definition in Turkey which brings various advantages to cities that have it, including a higher share of the central budget.

The announcement was made at the right place, as Kahramanmaraş is among the 11 provinces with populations above 750,000. "Kahramanmaraş deserves to be a metropolitan city," Erdoğan said.

The good news for these cities comes shortly after the government announced plans to decrease the population criterion for metropolitan status from 1,000,000 down to 750,000. The 11 provinces expected to be given metropolitan city status are Aydın, Denizli, Hatay, Muğla, Tekirdağ, Balıkesir, Kahramanmaraş, Manisa, Şanlıurfa, Van and Trabzon. Malatya, Mardin and Ordu, whose populations are above 700,000, will also be elevated to metropolitan status if their populations exceed 750,000 by 2014.

In his Kahramanmaraş speech, Erdoğan mostly criticized the opposition, particularly the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) over last week's attack on his convoy in Kastamonu during which a police officer was killed.

"Heinous terrorist attacks in recent days aren't just a coincidence. Someone must have won a contract again. These [terrorists] are at the same time drug smugglers. The US Treasury froze assets of eight prominent terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leaders. You know the power behind the BDP, don't you? You know the specifications of that contract? There is blood, hatred, violence, anger and carnage," he said.

Erdoğan noted that the content of radio communications between the PKK militants in the attack had been recorded by Turkish security forces. "They were saying that their target is the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), in other words, the nation. Because the AK Party's course has been set by the nation," he said.

Erdoğan posed a question for independent deputies endorsed by the BDP, asking whether they planned to stay silent on the BDP's recent angry discourse, which was emphasized by Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk's words that "bad things are going to happen" in relation to the Kurdish question, Cihan News Agency reported.

/World Bulletin/

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