DİHA - Dicle News Agency


Co-mayors of Batman ask for share of oil revenue

8 July
08:15 2014

BATMAN (DİHA) - The co-mayors of Batman are demanding a share of the revenue from oil extracted in the province.

The co-mayors have officially applied for the municipality of Batman to receive a share of the revenue from oil production in Batman, said oil production at the moment is being carried out within the logic of colonialism, but instead local people must benefit from the revenues of oil production. While the exploitation policies of the capitalist system towards the natural resources continue in Kurdistan, the Kurdish people are struggling for survival despite the fact that oil has been produced in Batman for 60 years.

Refinery has a turnover of 1 million 850 thousand $

The Batman Refinery has a yearly turnover of 1 million 850 thousand dollars. The oil extracted from Batman is processed in Kocaeli, in the west of Turkey, so that only 300 workers are employed in Batman which has a population of 400,000. It is the western cities that are benefiting from the revenues and taxes obtained by oil production. The people of Batman even lack asphalt. The local administration of Batman demanded a month ago a donation of a certain amount of oil to the Batman municipality on account of the unfair distribution of oil revenues.

Co-mayors demand a share of revenues

Batman co-mayors Gulistan Akel and Sabri Ozdemir spoke to ANF about the issue saying that the right to oil production must be transferred to local government.
Remarking that they filed an official application to demand a share of the revenues of the Batman Refinery, Batman co-mayor Sabri Ozdemir said they demanded that 3 thousand tons of oil be donated to the municipality.

Özdemir': Batman has highest rate of unemployment

Sabri Ozdemir recalled that HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) Batman deputy Ayla Akat has submitted a bill to parliament on the issue and also that the co-chair of HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, speaks frequently about the sharing of oil revenues. Ozdemir emphasised that Batman has the highest rate of unemployment in Turkey because the oil extracted in Batman is processed in Kocaeli and the people of Batman are not benefiting from employment opportunity in the oil production. Ozdemir added that the solution for unemployment in Batman is the transfer of the right to oil production to local government.

'Kurdistan is deprived of its own natural resources'

Ozdemir added that the budgets of municipalities are calculated in proportion to the taxes obtained from the towns, saying that the taxes of Batman Refinery are transferred to Kocaeli instead of to the local budget of Batman. Ozdemir said: “The budget of Batman municipality would be doubled if we could receive taxes of 1 million 850 thousand dollars. This is the result of a systematic policy of the state. The functions of these kinds of big investment companies are limited to several cities in Turkey so that only these cities are benefiting from the revenues. The oil is in Batman, it is extracted in Batman, the turnover is here, but the tax goes to Kocaeli. This is a big unfairness to the people of Batman. Kurdistan is deprived of its own natural resources”.

'A fifth of oil in Turkey is produced in Batman'

The other co-mayor of Batman, Gulistan Akel, emphasised the high level of unemployment in the city, adding that the state manages oil production with the logic of exploitation. Akel said a fifth of oil in Turkey is produced in Batman, but Batman has the highest level of unemployment according to the figures of the Turkish Statistical Institute in the years of 2010 and 2012, adding that this fact is a concrete reflection of the colonial policies of the Turkish state regarding the people of Batman.

Akel further said the oil must be produced according to the needs of people without destroying nature, emphasising that the colonial plunder of natural resources could only be stopped if local government organised the oil production along ecological lines and for public benefit. Akel added that the people will not give up their demand for a share of the revenues from oil production and will continue to step up their struggle to achieve this aim.