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The Southeastern Anatolia Region
The Southeastern Anatolia Region covers 9.7 percent of the lands in Turkey with a surface area of 75,000 km2. It is adjacent to the Eastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean Regions. It also has borders with Syria and Iraq. As in the other regions, the borders of the provinces do not coincide with the regional border. Sanliurfa and Mardin Provinces, with the exception of some very small sections, are within the region. Some sections of the other provinces are either in the Eastern Anatolia or Mediterranean Regions.
The Southeastern Anatolia Region is under the influence of both the continental climate and the Mediterranean climate. The long summers are hot and dry. The winters are cold with rainfall or snowfall. In recent years, some changes have been experienced in the climate in the region thanks to the dam lakes constructed within the scope of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). There has been a decrease in the period of dry weather and rainfall has increased.
The Southeastern Anatolia Region resembles the Central Anatolia Region from the aspect of the agricultural economy. A great majority of the arable lands are allocated to the sowing of grains, with the exception of the Gaziantep region, where there is a diversification of vegetable products, due to the similarity of the area to that of the Mediterranean climate. Wheat is of primary importance among the varieties of grains, and its share exceeds one tenth of the total wheat production in Turkey. Among the grains, barley is in second place and lentils are in third place. More than 50 percent of the lentil production in Turkey is in the Southeastern Anatolia Region. The cultivation of rice is carried out in a dispersed manner in the sections which can be irrigated, especially in Diyarbakir Province. Within the scope of the GAP Project, which changed the fate of the region, irrigated agriculture has been adopted on some plains in the region and the sowing of industrial plants has been accelerated. In fact, there is a big boom in cotton production, especially on the Harran Plain, which extends from the south of Sanliurfa to the Syrian border. The best quality cotton in the region is grown here.
Tobacco, which has a significant place among the industrial plants, is sown in Adiyaman, Siirt and Diyarbakir and a valuable type of tobacco called "the Oriental Type" is grown in these provinces. In the Gaziantep region, olives and pistachio nuts are also among the most important products, along with grapes. Pistachio nuts are also grown in the Adiyaman and Siirt regions.The large pistachio nuts of Siirt are particularly delicious.
The most important underground resource in the region is petroleum. A portion of the crude oil produced in the environs of Raman, Garzan and Kahta, is refined at the Batman Refinery, which is one of the most important industrial establishments in the region. Another portion of the crude oil is transported by pipeline to the filling facilities in the Mediter- ranean Region and then to the other regions by tankers.
The most important industrial city in the Southeastern Anatolia Region is Gaziantep. The textile, machinery and food industries are fairly developed here. Industrial branches such as the cement, food, metal goods, agricultural equipment and similar industries are found in Diyarbakir, Mardin and Sanliurfa where the industries are developing.
Kargamis, located at the junction of the Turco-Syrian border and the Euphrates River, is an important historical center that was the capital city of the Late Hittites. The majority of the findings in the city are exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Another important Hittite city, which is worth seeing is, Yesemek, near Islahiye. The city which was used as an open air sculpture atelier between 1200 and 800 B.C., is at the same time one of the oldest stone quarries in Anatolia. Today there are 200 Hittite statues at the site.
The Rum Citadel, in which it is believed the first New Testament was kept in the past, is located on the steep rocks where the Euphrates River and the Merziman Stream merge, has a special importance for Christians. A very deep cistern at the center of the Citadel opens into the Euphrates River. The Belkis (Zeugma), which is 10 km from Nizip County, was an important city of the Romans in the past. The city, which is famous for its floor mosaics, especially in the Roman buildings in that period, is worth seeing.
- The Old and the New Together
The city walls were expanded during the Seljuk and Ottoman Periods and 82 towers were added to the city walls. The Evli Beden Tower, constructed during the Artukogullari period, is one of the highest towers of the city walls. The inscription and the reliefs on it are worth seeing. The Goat Tower, to the east of the Mardin Gate, is the largest and the oldest tower of the Diyarbakir city walls. The bird's eye view from here of the rice and watermelon fields located on the shores of the Tigris River is very beautiful.
The Grand Mosque is the oldest and largest mosque in the city. It was initially the Saint Thomas Church and was later converted to a mosque. The Safa Mosque, which is among the most beautiful mosques in the city, was built by the Akkoyunlular in 1532. The minaret of the mosque, which is decorated with various motifs and glazed tiles, is very elegant. The minaret releases beautiful odors in rainy weather, since fragrant plants were added into the mortar during its construction. The Church of the Virgin Mary in the city is an old church remaining from the third century A.D. In time, the niche of the church, which remains from the Byzantine Period, was restored. The number of artifacts collected from the surroundings which are exhibited at the Diyarbakir Archaeological Museum exceeds 10,000. The houses where Cahit Sitki Taranci, one of the most famous poets of the Republic of Turkey and Ziya Gokalp, the great Turkish philosopher were born, were transformed
The folk art of Diyarbakir is very rich. The motifs and colors of the kilims, saddle-bags, socks and felts made at the foot of Karacadag are very attractive. Delilo, Halay, Cacan and Cepik folk dances, which are accompanied by a drum and zurna (double-reed instrument similar to an oboe), are very beautiful. Furthermore, jewelry making, copperworks and sericulture are developed in the city. Watermelons which can be as large as 75 kilos are the real symbol of the city.
- The Region of Black Gold
Aydinlar is the most-visited place in the vicinity of Siirt. This charming town, surrounded by pistachio nut trees is the territory of Moslem saints. The large tomb of Ismail Fakirullah Effendi, one of the most famous Moslem saints in Anatolia, is at Aydinlar. Inside the large tomb, with its interesting architecture, is also the tomb of Ismail Hakki Effendi, the famous Turkish astronomer. The research studies made and the instruments used by Ismail Hakki Effendi who produced 54 written works, are displayed at the Museum of Astronomy in Aydinlar.
- The City of Noah