“Hasankeyf is our culture, Tigris is our nature”
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The Ilısu Dam Project, which will engulf the ancient city of Hasankeyf, 199 villages and biofiversifically rich Tigris Basin, is about to be finalized.
The government authorities previously announced that the filling of Ilısu Dam reservoir would start on June 10, namely today.
Accordingly, coming together in Hasankeyf upon the call of Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive and Mesopotamia Ecology Movement on June 8, life defenders condemned the project which will engulf the 12-thousand year ancient city and the Tigris Basin surrounding it.
Some highlights from the joint statement for the press read out by life defenders in Hasankeyf were as follows:
“Ilısu Project is a project that will bring wrongs and destruction from the beginning to end. The official claim that ‘the project will bring socio-economic benefits to the local community’ is an utter deception.This project will not only engulf important cultural heritage in Upper Mesopotamia, especially Hasankeyf, but it will also lead around 80 thousand people into poverty and destruction of Tigris Basin, which is still biodiversifically rich.
‘It has been irreversibly destructed’
“A dramatic fall in the amount of water to the UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes is the most significant risk to be caused by this dam project.
“As it was experienced and seen before with other dam projects undertaken in the region, the Ilısu Dam Project will bring about social, economic, cultural and ecological destruction.
“Hasankeyf, which is a cultural and natural heritage site integrated with Tigris River, has been subjected to irreversible and multidimensional destruction as a result of securitizing and baseless economic interests.
‘UNESCO keeps quiet about the destruction’
“The filling of Ilısu Dam reservoir is wanted to be used as a justification for displacement and migration. When the filling of the dam starts, the natural ecosystem of Tigris River will be harmed along hundreds of kilometers.
“UNESCO has been keeping quiet about the destruction in Hasankeyf, which meets nine of its ten criteria.
‘ECtHR becomes a party to the crime’
“Similarly, ruling that cultural heritage does not fall within the scope of European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is also becoming a party the crime of destruction.”
Concluding their remarks, life defenders made a call to everyone for a participatory social struggle to save Hasankeyf and Tigris Basin from being engulfed. (EMK/SD)