Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Turkish dam concerns archaeologists, environmentalists

A controversial dam project in the ancient Turkish city of Hasankeyf that was abandoned six years ago has now received new funding from an international consortium that includes Austria, Germany and Switzerland, BBC News reported Tuesday.

The construction of the dam will result in the flooding of the valley around Hasankeyf, drawing the ire of archaeologists and environmental activists. In this southeastern city there exist caves that are 3,000 years old. In addition, the naturally-constructed rock “castle of Hasankeyf” is millions of years old and archaeologists also believe there are layers rich with history beneath the ground that they will not have time to reach before the flood.

“For an archaeologist who has been working here for years nothing can be so painful as seeing all these artifacts flooded,” says archaeologist Abdusselam Ulucam, who is leading an excavation in the area.

The flood would create the second largest reservoir in Turkey, submerging more than 300 sq km (116 sq miles) of land.

The dam is intended to create some 4,000 jobs. The article also notes that: “Dam supporters also argue it will help develop the neglected south east of Turkey, racked by years of conflict with Kurdish separatists.”

The construction of the dam will also displace 54,000 people. According to the article: “Those who live in Hasankeyf will be offered new apartments nearby. Others will get compensation. But it is another major upheaval in the mainly Kurdish-populated region, where tens of thousands have already been forcibly displaced during the worst years of fighting here.”

For the full article, click here


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