Tourist dollars fund war against Kurdish people
While idyllic images of sun, sea and beaches in the western coastal regions of the country sell the idea of a holiday-maker’s paradise, in the Kurdish regions an entirely different story is unravelling. Here, the revenue generated from foreign tourists is not being used to drive the local economy. Instead, it is falling on Kurdish citizens in the form of sniper fire, F16 missiles and tear gas.
Each dollar spent by foreign tourists provides the Government the means to continue its massive campaign of military destruction which is devastating villages, historic architectural sites, and, of course, the lives of the people who live there.
Turkey is ranked 15th highest in the world in military spending and runs the second-largest army in NATO. For years, the government received grants and loans from the US for the purchase of arms, but since around 2000 has generated enough of its own revenue to continue to purchase advanced weaponry themselves. The vast majority of this spending has been used to equip the military in its dirty war against the Kurds, which between 1984 and 2000 cost the government $130 million (US dollars) and continues to make up a major proportion of its annual budget, even at moments when resources have been scarce.