Sign petition: No filling of Ilisu Dam! Save 12,000 Year old Hasankeyf

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We call on you to sign this petition started recently for saving Hasankeyf and Tigris and directed to the Turkish government. Text of the petition is below: Sign here!

Hasankeyf is a magnificent ancient town at the Tigris River in the Kurdish Southeast of the Republic of Turkey.

For 12.000 years, Hasankeyf has been a site of uninterrupted human settlement. With the labour of dozen cultures this outstanding universal site with its 5500 caves and hundreds of monuments has been created with an unique embedding into the Tigris valley. Recent excavations show that Hasankeyf lays atop of a deep, uncovered cultural heritage and is the twin of Göbeklitepe, a sanctuary site 225 km to the west with a past of 12.000 years. Independent researchers state that Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley fulfill 9 out of the 10 UNESCO criteria for a World Heritage Site.

However, the Turkish government has not conserved Hasankeyf and the Tigris Valley and not applied to UNESCO; rather it has come up with the destructive and large Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project.

The Ilisu Project was and is a completely wrong and destructive investment. That is why since the beginning the project was strongly opposed not only at the local level in Turkey, but also in Iraq, Syria and globally. Contrary to official claims, the dam would have no socio-economic or any other benefit for the vast majority of the mainly Kurdish society in the affected region. Up to 80.000 people would loose their livelihoods and end up in poverty. The dam would contribute to the deepening of the assimilation of affected Kurds in the 199 villages and also Arabs from Hasankeyf town. The rich biodiversity of the Tigris River ecosystem – still mainly natural – would be degraded significantly. The Ilisu Project would also gravely affect the downstream stretches of the Tigris, seriously jeopardizing the water supply of major Iraqi towns, and Iraqi agriculture would be put under serious risk, in particular the UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq would face reduced downstream flows. The Ilisu Dam would increase political conflicts on regional level.

Due to resistance at the ground and on international the project has been stopped several times in the last 20 years. But in spring 2019 the Turkish government announced that it will start filling the dam reservoir on the 10th of June. Also due to widespread protests and critic this announced filling has been postponed, but only for a short time.

Despite the some destruction occured by the government’s program of so-called “monument relocation and consolidation of rocks” since 2017 there is still so much cultural heritage left to rescue. We believe strongly that the cancellation of the Ilisu project would stimulate a process from which the broader local population, Turkey and Iraq would benefit directly, economically as well as socially and culturally.

We call upon on the Turkish government not to start the filling by the Ilisu Dam. Instead a new broad, participative and transparent discussion with all representatives of the local population on the future of the affected region should be started.

Another condition should be the achievement of a mutual agreement with Iraq and Syria according to international law, which should guarantee sufficient water flows into the Mesopotamian Marshes and southern Iraq.

We call on all people and organizations all around the world to support our demands and to launch similar calls on the Turkish government!

Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Hasankeyf Alive and Mesopotamia Ecology Movement

Find out more about the Hasankeyf Initiative here:
Twitter: @hasankeyfdicle