Skiing to help solve Kurdish problem in Turkey? Skiing?

It may not seem the obvious place to go skiing but it has some pretty good mountains and now the government wants to use skiing to solve political problems.

They won’t be very big but they are a start.

They will be developed in the mountainous in the east and southeast of the country over the next two years.

Sports Minister, Faruk Nafiz Özak, announced that the Turkish government plans to promote winter sports for children and to boost socio-economic development in rural areas as part of its Democratic Initiative in the region.

So, there is a political motive for the development apparently.

The area borders Iraq and includes areas with a Kurdish majority where violent conflict has occurred.

Faruk Nafız Özak, Minister for Youth and Sport, thinks Turkey can ski its way to peace?

The government believes the projects could contribute to the government’s pursuit of social and legislative reforms as part of its initiative to end the decades-old conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

The first of the 40 planned centres are due to be built on the slopes of the Sümbül Mountain in Hakkari and on Harsi Mountain in Tunceli.

They are expected to be completed by the end of the year and open for the 2010/11 season.

“I find this project very important. The ski centres will boost socio-economic activities fueled by winter tourism in the region,” Özak told local media.

“Skiing is not only a sporting activity, but also affects social and economic life. Skiing is the best option for eastern and south eastern Anatolian provinces that are covered in snow for more than six months a year.”

So there you have it – build some ski resorts and solve some social, economic and political problems at the same time – seems like a good idea to us here at PlanetSKI.

At the moment there are 20 ski resorts in Turkey.

With thanks to SNOW24 for the report.

Original story from PlanetSKI, 03 January 2010.

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