Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive

Batman/Turkey

Press Release/26.07.2012

Dam construction site destroyed in the Kurdish East of Turkey!

On the 25th July, Wednesday, more than 500 protesting people in the. Kurdish province Dersim have destroyed the construction site of the, highly criticized Pembelik Dam on the Peri River. Since September 2012 local affected people along the Peri River, a border River of the two provinces Dersim (Tunceli) and Elazig protest continously against the construction of the 77 m high and 125 MW Pembelik Dam on the Peri River. Since then they have pitched protest tents close to the construction site of the dam which they refuse categorically. The affected people criticize the state for destroying the livelihoods of thousands of people through the construction of the Pembelik and other dams on the Peri River and for excluding them from any dam construction activities. Two other dams have been built in the past and have resulted in negative impacts for people and nature in the whole valley. Although the protest continues for so long and there is a big regional and national solidarity, no state official took into consideration the local people. More than 500 people, affected people and people in solidarity with them, gathered close to the dam in order to start a protest demonstration. It was one day before the start of the annual big Munzur Culture and Nature Festival which is the biggest cultural event in the province of Dersim. After marching some kilometers they decided to occupy the dam constructing site although it is protected by many security guards. These guards and dozens of soldiers could not stopped the people although they fired in the air. The protesters overcame the gates and fences and then destroyed several construction machines and some buildings by fire.To date this protest is the most radical one in the Kurdish region of  the Republic of Turkey. In Dersim for more than ten years there are protests by people against dams which are refused by more than 90% of the population. It considers the dams as tools to destroy the wild  nature, to displace people and to “pacify” the rebellious province Dersim.

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