Following a call by the Initiative to Keep Alive (HYG) and the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement (MEM) for the “Big Jump” ecology activists in Hasankeyf, Turkey and the world protested the controversial Ilisu Dam on the 14th of July. This action day (“Big Jump” is an int’l action day since 2002) is the continuation of the growing activities of the last 1,5 months against the Ilisu Dam which is almost ready for the filling of its reservoir. So in the actions in more than 25 places the participants requested the immediate stop of the mega dam which would also devastate the Tigris region along the Tigris also in Iraq.
The most actions have been done within Turkey which is a positive development as it shows the growing solidarity wave of the people fighting the Ilisu Dam. In the follwong nine towns people gathered at rivers and lakes: Kırklareli, Antalya/Alakır, Antalya/Sarısu, Çanakkale/Gökçeada, Çanakale/Bozcaada, Balıkkesir/Kazdağları, Ankara/Seğmenler Park, Rize/Findikli, Nevsehir/Avanos, İstanbul/Sariyer, Batman River, Hasankeyf. The actions in Turkey have been coordinated by the HYG, MEM and also by the Hasankeyf Coordination which is a new turkey wide structure to coordinate the activities against the Ilisu Dam! Several unions, profession organizations, ecology movements, cultural associations, movements for the right to cities have set up the Hasankeyf Coordinationon July 5, 2019.
The international places which joined the “Big Jump” for Hasankeyf are as follows according to our knowledge until now: Hamburg, Berlin, Mainz, Nürnberg and Wendland from Germany, Manlleu (Cataloina), Rome, London, Kopenhagen, Zürich, Bern (Switzerland), Washington/Port Townsend (USA), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Rio de Janeiro (Brasil), Sîne (Iran), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Dundee (Scotland), Amara, Dhi Qar and Najaf (Iraq). The most activists who organized these international actions have joined in the last years. In the most cases activists jumped into their rivers or lakes. In Berlin an art action has been done at the central historical church Gedächtniskirche with the artists Zehra Dogan.
On the afternoon of the 12th July the appointed Turkish governor for Batman declared that all public meetings/manifestations need to be permissioned for the following two weeks. In a clear message it was included that swimming the Tigris Valley is forbidden as well. Nevertheless the activists left on the noon for Hasankeyf from different cities. They have been received by more than 1000 police forces, several times more than activists. The police occupied all squares and potential meeting places, even the banks of the Tigris. In the last decades there is no remember that so many police and army forces have been present in Hasankeyf which is an expression of the protests of the last two months! Several deputies and co-mayors from HDP, the MEP Julie Ward from UK, who have accompanied the activists, negotioated for more than one hour in order to be able to do a statement which has been done under 40 degrees hot wheather!
After the statement a part of the participants went with their cars to a location 50 km far away at the Batman River (a tributary of the Tigris) in order to do the Big Jump! This could be done without any intervention by state forces.
One very important slogan of the successful Big Jump action day was “It is not too late for Hasankeyf”! With this the activists express that it is never too late to stop the Ilisu Dam which would destroy the 12.000 years old twon Hasankeyf, flood the Tigris Valley with its rich biodiversity and destroy the livelihoods of up to 100.000 people in the Kurdish region of Turkey.
Among others, this action day is an expression that the activities in the next weeks and months against the destructive Ilisu Dam and for the defense of Hasankeyf and the Tigris River will continue. As long as we continue it will be quite difficult to complete this project of destruction, exploitation and dominance. In the coming days and weeks we will inform you about new activities. We call upon on every interested individual and organizations to join the next activities and initiative own ones.
Already on the 13th July 14 HDP deputies travelled to the Ilisu village which is 77 km downstream of Hasankeyf and where the dam site is situated. After many police controls they reached the Ilisu village with 50 people where they did a statement in which they declared once more their clear stance against the Ilisu Dam Project and to save Hasankeyf. See attached picture.
Also on the 13th July 2019 a group of three artists from the Compagnie Bien a Vous Armanc Kerboranî from Paris (Juan-Golan Elibeg, Thomas Lamouroux ve Aurélie Gerardine) and the Kurdish painter Zehra Dogan organized a performance in the Pergamon Museum of Berlin. The motivation was to draw attention on Hasankeyf and request from the Pergamon Museum to to a call against the flooding of Hasankeyf. Visitors showed big interest in the action which raised big interest also in the media. See attachment for one picture. See here for a video of the action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNSHv5BfNG8&fbclid=IwAR0fsCRJj5StrkbxXgZyVOpont9z24H1X2-MKoZmDHco2ZUk1-ymHtbzr30
See for pictures and videos of the action day: http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net/?p=1043
14th July 2019
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf and Mesopotamia Ecology Movement
Twitter: @hasankeyfdicle (and @HasankeyfKoord)