Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive
Press release: Batman, Turkey – 29 February 2015
Today more than 500 people have protested the destructive Ilisu Dam project in the town of Dargecit. The demonstrators aimed at protesting at the dam site, but were prevented by the police.
The protestors came from different dam affected provinces in order to protest the ongoing construction of the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant project. They gathered in the small city of Dargecit and wanted to march towards the dam site which is 12 km away. They could not overcome the police barricade.
The protestors carried banners with the slogans: “Let’s communalize our land, water and energy and build up the democratic and free life”, “No to hydro dams and security dams”, “No nature, no life“ and “We do not want dams in Dargecit”.
The demontrators demanded that the state, companies and workers stop immediately the construction of the dam which would be a social, ecological and cultural disaster for the whole region. The DBP co-chairperson of Dargecit, Hatice Gevcan, and an activist of our initiative from Batman stressed furthermore that the population of Dargecit and the whole affected region is against the Ilisu Dam and that in a period of negotiations between the Kurdish political movement and the Turkish state this dam has the potential for increasing the existing political and armed conflict.
Also an activist from the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement emphasized that the capitalist system considers humans and nature as objects of exploitation. Behind this approach is the nation state which destroys for more than hundred years nature and culture. Consequently the struggle should also be against the existing political-economic system.
This protest was part of an action day against destructive dams in Turkish-Kurdistan and was coordinated by the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, which our initiative is part of. In five locations thousands of people criticized the policy of the Turkish state, which does not take into consideration the view of people in the region.
The Ilisu dam threatens the livelihoods of up to 80.000 people, richest cultural heritage sites like the 10.000 years old settlement Hasankeyf and the still living river ecosystem of the Tigris River. Four times the Ilisu Dam has been halted due to different reasons in the past, the last time in summer 2014, but the Turkish state continued every with the construction and has militarized the dam site intesively with military.