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 Guerrillas have the Machines that are used for the Construction of Dams set on Fire

2012-07-14 10:50:03

ANF 10:46 / July 14, 2012 Hakkari – Semdinli district of Hakkari Beyyurdu (Bedeve) Arslandağ (Xaletalin) Dam construction worker machines were burned.


Used for reports of Semdinli District Beyyurdu (Bedeve) Arslandağ (Xaletalin) Dam Construction in construction, the fire of the HPG guerrillas has been set.  A group of guerrillas held after the night at 02:00 clock a speech on dams on the site, they set fire to about 30 tools. After the vehicles were set on fire an operation has started. The construction of the dam began in 2008, is expected to cost 73 million 430 thousand TL, so that the passage to prevent the guerrillas can be prevented.

KEEPING HASANKEY ALIVE – Against the Ilısu Dam

We do not have luxury here but we are not hungry either.Besides we live in the most beautiful place on earth.I wouldn’t go anywhere else even if they paid me millions[1].
An inhabitant of the town of Hasankeyf

Akgün İlhan


The Ilısu Dam project is one of the most controversial ones in Turkey. Even though planned in the 1960s, the actual construction started in 2009. The Ilısu Dam is an integral part of the largest regional development project in Turkey named as the South-eastern Anatolia Project (GAP). As the name suggests, the GAP is located in the South-eastern region of Turkey. There are three important aspects of the GAP[2]. First, this region is heavily populated by the Kurds and there has been an on-going war between the Turkish army and the Kurdish rebels for over decades. Second, the GAP consists of dozens of large dams and Hydro-electric Power Plants (HEPP) on the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers which limit, to a great extent, the water flow that the downstream countries Iraq and Syria receive. Third, as the global water crisis discourse becomes more popular, the large water multi-nationals have developed an increasing interest in the water resources of the Middle East; a region having already serious water shortage. When these dimensions are considered, the complexity of the Ilısu case and the grand obstacles in front of the social movement against this project become clearer. [Read more…]

The Administrative Court of Batman Decided: Ilisu Dam is Beneficial!

Source: Radikal, 06.06.2012

The Batman Administrative Court decided about a counter claim that Ilisu Dam should be built because Turkey will nationally benefit from its energy production and irrigation facilities. On the desicion, the court accepted that the project has not cared about cultural historical heritage till now but after this moment, it “will” care!

This desicion is not the end of juridical process because the case will be conveyed the higher court by advocates. However, this desicion also show the juridical process in Turkey about environment issue: the courts always tend to decide parallel with the government!

UNESCO World Heritage Committee: Save World Heritage on the Tigris River in Mesopotamia

The tremendous cultural and natural heritage of Mesopotamia is in great danger due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam on the Turkish stretch of the Tigris River. Designed to impound an area of more than 310 km², it would impact the right to food and water of thousands of people in and around the planned reservoir as well as downstream. It also threatens precious riverine ecosystems hosting numerous endangered species, hundreds of archaeological sites including the ancient town of Hasankeyf in Turkey, as well as the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq.
We are deeply concerned about the impacts of the Ilisu Dam Project constructed on the Tigris River by the Turkish government.
This is why we ask you to sign this petition to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to urge them to take action against the construction of the Ilisu Dam. [Read more…]