Engulfing 35 villages, Ilisu dam reservoir has reached Hasankeyf town, which is one of the most important cultural and natural heritage sites of the world, says Hasankeyf Coordination in a recent statement for the press.
Releasing a statement for the press about the current condition of Hasankeyf soon to be engulfed by Ilisu Dam, the Hasankeyf Coordination platform has underlined that time is ticking away for the 12,000-year ancient city.
Raising concerns over the ongoing growth of water reservoir despite all criticisms and protests, the Coordination has said, "Engulfing 35 villages so far, Ilisu dam reservoir has reached Hasankeyf town, which is one of the most important cultural and natural heritage sites of the world."
Some highlights from the statement are as follows:
'Tigris Valley caught unprepared'
"Caught unprepared and uninformed, the residents of Tigris Valley are unjustly made to emigrate from their homeland. Several people, especially in the province of Siirt, had to evacuate their villages without taking some of their belongings because the water was rising quickly.
"While 85 villages have been completely and 124 villages have been partially engulfed, the State Water Management (DSI) built only four new settlements, whcih has led tens of thousands of people to emigrate to Siirt, Batman, Diyarbakir and other big cities with their meagre compensation.
"Over ten thousand people 'without lands' have started emigrating without receiving any compensation at all. These people are supported by neither the DSI, nor the trustee-appointed municipalities.
'Water has come near the district center'
"Having approached the district center of Hasankeyf in late December, water has been rising since July.
"While some families have been evacuated from Hasankeyf one by one since August, 40 families still live there as they have become homeless and do not know where they will bring their animals.
"Given water only for one hour a day, the families staying in Hasankeyf are now facing enforced displacement. Only a tea house and a grocery store have remained in Old Hasankeyf.
'2,000-year-old structures uncovered'
"When the historical bazaar was demolished with construction equipments in November, Hasankeyf received another blow.
"With the demolition of the bazaar, structures going back 2 thousand years were uncovered. The 'rescue excavation' undertaken by the Ministry of Culture for these structures sparked criticisms.
"Construction equipments keep damaging historical fabric in other sites and the barrier set up around Hasankeyf Castle and constituting a crime in terms of landscape keeps on rising.
"The ones who have moved to New Hasankeyf are not content with their situation. As tourists come neither to old nor to new Hasankeyf, thousands of people are faced with the risk of becoming unemployed.
"In addition to financial difficulties, another important problem is that the water coming from the faucets is undrinkable.
'People have difficulty in finding water'
"While the people of Hasankeyf used to live in water, they now have difficulties in finding water to drink. If people are not provided with job opportunities and if the problem of drinking water persists, people will have to emigrate from New Hasankeyf as well.
"If this happens, the vast majority of New Hasankey's population will not consist of local people. The people of Hasankeyf are now against the Ilisu Project more than ever before.
'We can stop it despite everything'
"We can stop the doom that has unfolded in Tigris Valley despite all the destruction that has been brought about.
"We are not tired of reiterating that it is never too late for Hasankeyf and Tigris River. No matter where we abandon the Ilisu Project, it will be to the benefit of us and next generations!
"In 2019, groups more diverse than ever before stood up against Ilisu project and indicated that Hasankeyf had to be saved.
"This reaction should be prompted again and the government should be requested to stop filling the Ilisu Dam. It is urgent, we have no time to lose."
Source: English Bianet