By Mehmet Fatih Aslan
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) - The Harran Plain, one of the most important agricultural areas in Turkey, has been revived through the Southeastern Anatolia Project.
The region has significantly contributed to the nation’s economy since water was first transported there from Ataturk Dam as part of the project, known as Guneydogu Anadolu Projesi (GAP) in Turkish.
The fertile soil of the Harran Plain, located in southeastern Sanliurfa province, was irrigated for the first time 25 years ago after two huge tunnels were dug from Ataturk Dam to Sanliurfa city center under the project, which is the largest investment in the history of the Turkish republic.
Due to the irrigation, which lasted a quarter of a century, Sanliurfa now leads the country in corn as well as cotton production.
Sanliurfa was the first place in the world where wheat was produced and processed, Sadrettin Karahocagil, regional head of the GAP project, told Anadolu Agency.
He said irrigation has made a huge contribution to employment and estimated that it provides new jobs for two to four people per hectare.
"When you go to Harran district, you will see a population of 80,000 on the sign. The vast majority of this population lives in villages and engages in farming. They [farmers] make a great contribution to both Sanliurfa and the country's economy," Karahocagil added.
*Writing by Burak Bir