Authorities in the Yüksekova district of the southeastern province of Hakkari are aiming to make the glacial Lake Sat, located on Cilo Mountains, known as the “Alps of Yüksekova,” a new tourist hotspot as the region has largely been cleared of the PKK.
After a series of operations in recent years against the PKK, which Ankara sees as a terror group, Yüksekova is now regarded to be safe and has been opened to tourism with its natural beauty, colorful flowers and clean air.
“The region has a potential in nature tourism. Before, it was never easy to come here due to the fear of terrorist activities. But now everybody can come and visit this natural beauty,” Osman Doğramacı, the district governor, told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“I hope, in the future, people who go to the Swiss Alps will also visit Yüksekova,” added Doğramacı.
He said he hoped the Cilo Mountains, which has an altitude of 3,500 meters, would become a new tourist attraction for nature lovers across the world.
Near the lake, the village of İkiyaka Sat had remained deserted since 1995, after being evacuated in the wake of the pinnacle of clashes between the PKK and the Turkish state. Twenty-five years on, the village is now seeing its former residents return to their homes.
“I wish there will no longer be terror in the region. There is no security problem anymore. We have to protect this beauty,” said Naif Çelik, one of the villagers who returned.
“We had to leave the village in 1995 and we never were able to come back. This is the first time in years that we visit the plateau,” said Nizamettin Donat, another resident who returned to his home.
Hurriyet Daily News