Ilisu Dam construction site militarized!
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive
Press Release – 16 February 2015
Ilisu Dam construction site militarized
With the continuation of the construction of the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Tigris River in December 2014, the dam construction site has been militarized intensely. This alarming development leads to grave political tensions and human rights violation, in spite of the expected dramatic social, cultural and ecological impacts in the affected region.
From August to December 2014 the dam construction was halted after all workers had resigned as a result of the kidnapping of two subcontractors by the guerrilla forces of the People’s Defending Forces (HPG). At this time approximately 80 percent of the construction had been finished and in particularthe Hydroelectric Power Plant (HEPP) had not yet been constructed.
In the beginning of December 2014 new subcontractors employed several hundred workers from mainly non-Kurdish provinces within the Republic of Turkey. Local people do not want to work anymore as they consider more and more the Ilisu dam as a threat for their own lives.
All these developments underline our forecast that the construction of the Ilisu Dam would militarize in a serious way the dam site and surrounding area, and lead to human rights violation. They are not acceptable and in the responsibility of the state which insists to build the most destructive project in Turkey. Not considered are the economic and political implications for Iraq, which is completely dependent on the Tigris water. The ongoing war in Iraq shows how big water infrastructures like the Mosul Dam would intensify existing conflicts.
Meanwhile another development reveals again that the historical monuments in Hasankeyf can not be relocated to the proposed “archaeological park” close to the New Hasankeyf; two kilometers in the north of the antique city of Hasankeyf. No company submitted a proposal/application to a tender done by the State Water Works (DSI) to relocate the Zeynel Bey mausoleum at the end of 2014. The reason is clear. Technically it is not possible to relocate such monuments as they would most certainly be destroyed during the process. Another reason for our position is the unacceptable approach to pull out the monuments of their particular environments by the Tigris River.
Persistently we call particularly on the civil society and policy makers in Turkey, Iraq, the Middle East and the World to protest the decision of DSI to continue with this destructive project. While in the past years we emphasized the social, cultural and ecological impacts, the latest developments show us what potential the Ilisu Dam can create in terms of increasing the existing political and social conflicts. We would now need political pressure on Turkey more than ever.