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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Şırnak has the same advantages as the other 80 provinces.
"What exists in Turkey's 80 other provinces in the name of democracy, rights and freedoms exists here," Erdoğan said during a congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Şırnak on Oct. 18.
"We serve on the basis of democracy and development for everyone. We have been doing in Şırnak whatever we have been doing for Turkey's development since we came to power," he added.
Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Kurdish-majority cities were left undeveloped at the hands of the state. Şırnak is one of those provinces, which borders Iraq and Syria, and has been the site of fierce clashes between the army and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).Local authorities ban first Kurdish play to be staged in Istanbul Municipality over 'public security'
In addition to poverty in the said provinces, reports of human rights abuses have been increasing especially in the recent years.
Most recently in 2015, the province's Cizre district was nearly destroyed during the army operations against the PKK. Hundreds of people were displaced during the operations in the southeast.
Pressure on the use of Kurdish has also been increasing, with government appointed trustees removing Kurdish signs or banning the use of the language in various areas of life.
While Erdoğan and the AKP claim that the same advantages and opportunities were provided to the southeastern provinces, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) gains majority of the votes in nearly all provinces and districts in the region.
During his speech on Oct. 18, Erdoğan said that it is his duty to hold those making discrimination regarding democracy and development to account, although the government keeps on appointing trustees regardless of the votes of the people in the region.
We couldn't obtain the progress we wanted in education: Erdoğan
In a separate speech on Oct. 19, Erdoğan commented on Turkey's education system, saying that it's not in the government's desired level.
"We know that the real governance is the governance of ideas. The path to governance of ideas is long and difficult. I feel a little sad about this issue. When we look at the past 18 years, I believe that we couldn't obtain the progress we sought in education and culture," Erdoğan said.
According to the president, the minds of the youth were filled with popular culture and perverted nonsense since education was neglected.I'm in prison because Erdoğan is afraid of me: Selahattin Demirtaş
"It's a must to raise our children starting from family. It necessitates a total education reform. All we need is to raise people who protect their culture, history and values," he said.