Recognition of Turkey’s world heritage: Hasankeyf shortlisted by Europa Nostra


April 18, 2013
Turkey’s Cultural Awareness Foundation (Kültür Bilincini Geliştirme Vakfı – KBGV) announced on Thursday, April 18, 2013, that “Hasankeyf and its Surroundings” has been shortlisted by Europa Nostra for its “7 Most Endangered” program. KBGV prepared the nomination of Hasankeyf in cooperation with the volunteer organization Hasankeyf Matters.
Hasankeyf is the only site among the 14 Europa Nostra finalists to include important examples of Islamic architecture, and its planned destruction by the Ilısu Dam project is only a few years away.
An international advisory panel composed of eminent experts selected the shortlist of threatened landmarks from among 40 nominations submitted by civil society organizations and public bodies from 21 countries. The final seven will be announced at Europa Nostra’s 50th Anniversary Congress in Athens on June 16.
The threat to Hasankeyf
Cradled between the Tigris River and the steep cliffs of the Tur Abdin Plateau in Southeastern Turkey, Hasankeyf provides an extraordinary example of continuous urban history. Indeed, recent excavations indicate that the town’s history began as early as 9500 BCE, making it one of the oldest organized human settlements to be found anywhere.
Hasankeyf reached the height of prosperity in the 12th-15th centuries, when the city served as capital of the Artukid Turks and the Kurdish Ayyubids. Today, the town contains several exceptional examples of Islamic architecture, including the 200-meter Artukid bridge, the Koç Mosque, with its rare combination of central dome and arched entryway (eyvan), and the onion-domed Zeynel Bey Tomb, the only example of Timurid tomb architecture in Anatolia and poignant memorial to the long, difficult struggle between the Ottoman Empire and the Akkoyunlu Tribal Confederation. It is also set in a pristine, biologically diverse natural surrounding.
If the construction of the Ilısu hydroelectric dam continues as foreseen, 80 percent of Hasankeyf’s historic monuments will be flooded within the next decade and the local environment will be irreversibly altered.
At present there is no internationally recognized scheme for the conservation, preservation or relocation of the city’s monuments. If spared inundation, Hasankeyf has the potential to provide a sustainable anchor for local and regional economic development, providing visitors and scholars with a contextualized record of shared human history, spanning the continents of Europe and Asia.
What happens next?
Following selection of the final seven sites in June, they will be visited in the second half of 2013 by teams composed of heritage experts from Europa Nostra and its member organizations, as well as of technical and financial specialists from the European Investment Bank Group or the Council of Europe Development Bank. In close consultation with local stakeholders, they will assess existing problems and sketch viable and sustainable action plans for each one. Results are due to be presented at the European Heritage Policy Conference organized by Europa Nostra in Brussels on Dec. 5, 2013.
“With this new advocacy program, Europa Nostra aims not only to identify the most endangered monuments and sites in Europe but also to launch a true call for action. By sending multidisciplinary teams of experts to visit the selected sites, together with our partners, we will seek to contribute to finding sustainable and viable solutions for the future. In this way, we hope to inspire and encourage action by various public and private organizations also in other places in Europe and beyond,” stated Denis de Kergorlay, Europa Nostra’s executive president.
Other sites on the shortlist
Two other Turkish cultural sites, one in Mardin and the other in Nicosia, Cyprus, figure among the finalists:
St. George Armenian Church in Mardin, with foundations going back to the 5th century, served the large Armenian population until the beginning of the 20th century and today provides an example of the role Mardin has played as a melting pot of cultures and religions
The Buffer Zone of the Historic Centre of Nicosia, Cyprus, is the focus of an award-winning master plan, developed by conservationists from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, to revitalize this lifeless 1.5 km corridor, which crosses the historic city of Nicosia.
The full short-list is available online:
Kültür Bilincini Geliştirme Vakfı / Cultural Awareness Foundation: +90 212 347 24 25 /

A decision to cancel HPP also in Dersim.

fft64_mf129900101/21/2013, Green Gazette

Bozkaya HPP project which is planned for Dersim’s Munzur Valley was canceled by the court. Ankara 8th Administrative Court has decided to cancel the project, Bozkaya Hydro Power Plant (HPP), that was planned at Munzur Valley.
The lawyer Özgür Ulaş Kaplan who held a press conference about Court’s decision, said that ‘ the people won an important victory against the dams because of court’s decision. He reminded that ‘There are a lot of dam projects have been prepared at Munzur and Pülümür Valley without the approval of the EIA.’ ”These dam projects must be also canceled. To remain in valleys’ natural state, we are committed to continue our struggle.” he said.
For the cancellation of the project ‘HPP’, 22 people filed a lawsuit through their lawyers.


Hasankeyf Youth Camp organized

Between the 28th and 30th of September 2012 the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive organized a “Hasankeyf Youth Camp” in the district city Hasankeyf which is threatened by the Ilisu Dam Project. More than 120 young people, mostly from around the affected region, participated in this camp directly at the Tigris River in order to discuss the impacts of dams and what can be done in the next months and years against the disastrous Ilisu Dam.
Activists from six dam affected regions from the Kurdistan region of the Republic of Turkey (except one non-Kurdistan region) introduced their cases and consequently discussed critically the dam and water resources policy of the Turkish state. It was first emphasized that the dams in the Kurdish provinces have additionally a political/military dimension. Then it was said often that dams are the biggest ecological threat in most regions of these provinces and in all Turkey. Further participants mentioned the needed efforts to have a better relation with the whole nature of which the human being is a part of.
Based on the discussions the second day proposals have been collected from the participants. Two fields stand in the focus of the participants. First: Comprehensive Information and Organizing of affect people. This is the basis for all other campaign aspects. Second: The media, especially the new social media, must be used more consequently.

The camp ended in a very good atmosphere and some new volunteers could be founded for the extremely difficult to be in all possible relation. And this although the Turkish companies and Andritz have just finished the tunnels and has announced to impound water. The time is running out. Time for more resistance…

In the attachment are some pictures of the camp.

They burned cars, beat the workers and security guards



People who are against the hydroelectric plant in Trabzon’s county of Çaykara burned down a car and beat the security guards and workers. Gendarma took 3 people into custody.

According to a claim, at 4:00 o c’lock in the morning a group of people wearing masks burned the road construction digger which was building equipment  for the hydroelectric plant.  After burning down the  machine the group of 10 people beat  2 security guards and other workers. After the incident Gendarme started an investigation and identified 4 of the suspects, 3 of them  were taken into custody, and Gendarma started to look for other suspects who were  identified by people who had been  beaten.Investigation is ongoing for this incident.

The decision to “confiscate” for HES Stopped

18/06/2012 2:00

Enis Tayman/Radikal Gazetesi

İSTANBUL-6. Council of state decided to stop the executive in the lawsuit of elazığ peri suyu pebmelik that desicion, the urgent expropriation of EPDK denied until the outcome of lawsuit.

The Council of state,wouldn’t give the aouthory of urgent expropriation to another instution.Firstly the aouthory of  “confiscate” has been in the expropriation law to be used during the war in 1939.council of ministers handed over this right to the Energy Market Regulatory Authority(EPDK) in 2004.EPDK used this right for petroleum,natural gas,mining and energy sectors.this way,before used the urban renewal of Mersin Özgürlük,Çilek and Çay districts and cyanide mining projects of İzmir-Efemçukuru and Uşak-Eşme.also this way used in hasankeyf,amasya-taşova and dersim HES dam projescts.

For the dam project of elazığ –karakoçan called pembelik barajı they resorted to the same treatment and they confiscated the possessions of Hasan Akyol by the urgent expropriation.6.council of state stopped excecutive for the aouthority given to another instution.akyol’s lawyer mehmet horuş said the executive decision includes also the council of ministers.

Translate:Serkan Arat

Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive


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.

The anger of women to HES

Ahmet bayrak/muğla(DHA)

The hydroelectric power plant(HES) that will be built on muğla göktepe and çamoluk villages, protested.

Female Members of Mediterrenean greens assocation and göktepe-çamoluk villages sarhoş stream platform had a meeting and they showed kind of banner.CHP(turkish republic party) muğla city president said that they will have a discussion on turkish parlamento by parlamantars.göktepe and çamoluk stream platform lawyer kadriye beceren “muğla 2.administrative court will deal with the issue that our request for stop that execution”.mediterrenean greens assocation’s leader mustafa turgut said that the people of region ask us for help them to stop the demolition and he said “we are together with our friends and we will be together on that protest”another protester fatma kavlak(79) said “if its necessary we will give our lifes to not loose our nature”

Alcohol protest at Sarhoş stream against HES

June 18 Monday

Cihan news agency

There was intereseting protest in muğla-göktepe village against hydroelectric power plants(HES).akdeniz yeşiller derneği,dev-lis and chp supported the protest but from the 2000 populated village there was less people to support.protesters entertained with music and swam in the stream.

Protesters responses countinues aganist HES that will be built on sarhoş stream.peasantry prosecuted HES april 10 2012, after HES information,peasantry met again near the stream and are drunk alcohol and women entered in the water with a banner.

One of the protesters lawyer kadriye beceren,said they prosecuted again HES and they gave all information to the court.göktepe village reeve tuncay demirtaş said that they will never give their own earth and they will have argue til the end.chief executive of akdeniz yeşiller assocation mustafa turgut told that “the people of göktepe asked us for help so we are here now.that was a good protest and it will go on.we will take this stream.there is no life without is water.we will not give our life to them.”

Translate:Serkan Arat

HES Tension: 5 People in Custody

There were clashes at the site of Trabzon Çaykara HES. 3 workers were injured in the incident, five villagers were arrested. n the city of Trabzon Çaykara where the construction of hydroelectric stations (HES) goes on, the local people are against it. There were clashes between the farmers and workers in the HES construction site. 70 villagers were questioned about the incident, five people were arrested.
The demonstration was made at 19:00 clock in Köknar village in the HES construction. According to witnesses, the villagers wanted the workers to stop the construction of the HES. Between the people and the construction workers came to litigation. The three construction workers were injured, were taken by ambulance to the hospital. The military police have arrested according to the testimony of the 70 villagers five people, Ali D., D. İslam, Rafet Ş., Ş Nizamettin. G. Engin ve been brought for assault to the police station. A short time before it came between the villagers from Kavlatan and the HES workers to dispute. With painstaking help other people, the villagers and the worker were taken apart. After the incidents must the military police had to take extensive security measures that offer construction workers back to the HES construction