Write: Serdar Turan - Photo:Mustafa Yılmaz
Elazığ:On The Crossroads Of The East And West
Elazığ is among the provinces with high potential for economic development with its wealth ranging from agriculture to industry and tourism to natural resources.
Elazığ is truly a province of sagas. Some stories that are popular among the locals include the birth of the Çayda Çıra folk dance, the foundations of the Harput Castle having been laid by mixing milk into the concrete, and the dragon and its baby who solidified the rocks that surround the province. Naturally, the province is not only rich in sagas. Economically, Elazığ is among the leading provinces of the East; it is a dynamic province, determined to increasingly continue its significance.
Geographically, Elazığ is situated in an important location. The province is almost on the crossroads between the East and the West.
Elazığ has characteristics specific to itself, from an agricultural point of view. Although the amount of land suitable for cultivation is very little, the remaining land is very fertile. Irrigation facilities made available after the construction of the Keban Dam and the utilization of modern techniques contribute to this fertility. If it is remembered that the name of the province was given by Atatürk, originating from El’azık in Arabic, meaning prosperity and abundance, then it is a name that is well deserved. Among the products commonly cultivated in the region are wheat, barley, rice, sugar beet and tobacco. With other characteristic products of Boğazkere and Öküzgözü grapes grown in the province, vineyards are also on the rise. Numerous projects have been brought to life in Elazığ for increasing agricultural efficiencies. Due to various projects such as the Development of Plantation Growth, Water Products Development Project and Development of Spread of Agriculture (TARGEL), works are carried out for increasing the variety and efficiency in the sector of agriculture.
Moreover, apiculture and fish farming in are also on the rise. In short, Elazığ is among the provinces where nature has been generous.
THE WEALTHS OF ELAZIĞ
The industry has a considerable potential for development in Elazığ, due to the dam and its natural resources. Over 32 thousand people are employed in more than 300 establishments. Industry started to develop at a fast rate in Elazığ with the establishments of the Organized Industrial Region and several small industrial sites in the province. Natural resources are another source of wealth of Elazığ. Lead by copper and chromium, ores obtained from various mines operated in the province are also processed, creating significant activity in the province. Recently, marble production became an important sector contributing to Elazığ’s economy. In 2009, over $142 million USD worth of marbles were exported.
Another economic development center in the province is the University. The University of Fırat today has an important role in providing the required qualified work force for the region, with its over 23 thousand students. Besides, with the Technocity established within the University and through several workshops and courses, the University supports involvement of the locals in business life. The courses and seminars are not limited to the University alone. Within the province, in 4,246 courses and workshops organized within 84 institutions, information and trainings were given to more than 65 thousand people in various fields. Through various campaigns such as C’mon Girls off to School, Mother and Daughter We Are At School, 100 Percent Support to Education, Turkey Reads, literacy increasing events continue.
Another field with a significant potential for development is tourism. The Harput region, in particular, is very rich in history. Harput, meaning castle made of stones and rocks, after having reigned by Hurris, Urartians, Hittites, Byzantines and Romans, finally came under the hegemony of the Turks, following the War of Malazgirt. The region hosts a wealth of remnants of all these civilizations, especially the Harput Castle, well worth visiting. Many remnants that were found during the diggings for the construction of the Dam, are displayed in Elazığ Ethnography and Archeology Museum. Hazar Lake, which is a natural wonder with its submerged city, is also very attractive, from a touristic point of view. The Keban Lake Dam also contributes to Elazığ’s tourism with the beauties it has created. Furthermore, natural beauties such as spas and caves are also very appealing for tourists.
Elazığ is a province that is situated on the crossroads of the East and West. Having covered a long way in the realization of this potential through both private and public investments, Elazığ is a nominee for having one of the leading economies in the region.