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From ZAMAN - Assyrians Establish a Smal
Posted by Jeff (Guest) - Friday, February 13 2004, 17:37:46 (EST)
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Assyrians Establish a Small Switzerland in Mardin

Mardin, TURKEY, February 12, 2004 - Terror's mark on peace in the South Eastern part of Turkey also affects tourisml. Yahko Demir, who is of Assyrian origin, is preparing to return to the Elbegendi Village of Mardin where he was born, with a new project. Demir, who has been living in Switzerland for 25 years and has been an administrator in the well-known Movenpick Hotel, wants to save Elbegendi village, which was emptied by terrorism. Its buildings, including a church, are about to collapse due to lack of maintenance.

The construction skeleton of some triplex villas has been completed and others are still at the phase of foundation. There is a building site atmosphere in the village and each villa is said to cost 100,000 Euros (nearly 170 billion liras). Demir said villa construction is financed by his own capital and that of Elbegendi villagers who have migrated to European countries. Stating that 14 villas would be built in the first phase, Yahko Demir said the village, which will be built according to the region's traditional architecture with Midyat stones, a special type of stone found only in Midyat, and European standards. Infrastructure systems of the village will be built underground and swimming pools, tennis courts and sport establishments will be built. The villas will have central heating and cooling systems.

Project executor Demir said that they received support from Mardin Governor M. Temel Kocaklar and the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) for the project and that water drilling has been dogged in the village by the GAP administration. There is an Assyrian wine production center among the projects in the village. Demir said: "The Mardin region is on of the richest places of the world with its historical and cultural values. I believe that with new projects and investments we will make here, we will receive the world's already existing interests more locally. I think that every foreign tourist visiting Turkey will want to see Mardin. This is a beginning. Our projects will continue. We owe our fellowmen and the land where we were born and grew up. We have decided to pay this. We will develop viniculture in the village according to the botanic viniculture accepted in the whole world. And we will compete in the world wine markets."

Seyhmus Edis / Mardin / TURKEY


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