Turkey: millenary city to be submerged by mega dam Ilisu

Hasankeyf on Tigris to disappear

10 June, 18:01

    A view of the millenary city of Hasankeyf on the Tigris river in Turkey A view of the millenary city of Hasankeyf on the Tigris river in Turkey

    ISTANBUL - The process to fill up the basin of the maxi-dam Ilisu, in the Kurdish-majority south-eastern province of Batman, has started. The dam will submerge the town of Hasankeyf on the Tigris river, one of the most important centers of Mesopotamia with 12,000 years of history, together with 199 other villages in the area. Its approximately 6,000 residents will be transferred to the new town while some millenary monuments have been taken away with controversial operations that have been harshly criticized by some archaeologists.

    Started in 2006 for a cost of over 1.3 billion euros, the project has progressed slowly, partly due to the withdrawal of international funding over fears that the archaeological and natural heritage would be damaged.

    The dam, which should contain up to 10 billion cubic meters of water for the production of 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectric power, is part of the Gap project launched in the 1960s. There are also strong concerns for the geopolitical impact of the project, given the reduction of the water flow of the Tigris river in Iraq, where serious drought problems have been registered. Activists and environmentalists have been launching appeals against the project, including on social media under the hashtag 'it's not too late for Hasankeyf' (#HasankeyfIcingGecDegil).

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