KT News and Comment: 8.9.2012

Ömer Faruk Akyüz, a member of the ‘Initiative to Sustain Hasankeyf’, told bianet that Hasankeyf is the only place in the world that meets nine of the ten criteria for preservation laid down by the UNESCO World Heritage Center.

“The government has yet to explain to us how the historical structures here are going to be moved. They should stop accusing us of being against development and the dam. Let them come here and discuss with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the locals about how we are going to save Hasankeyf and carry it into the future,” he said

“They talk about doing water sports over the reservoir and the kilowatts per hour the dam will provide. They could hardly be any further than seeing the people’s reality. Are the villagers here supposed to ride jet skis over the reservoir?”

The Ilisu dam is part of Turkey’s Southeast Anatolia Project, known in Turkish as GAP. Syria and Iraq have expressed opposition to many of the GAP dams, fearing they will give Turkey too much control over the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Aside from the historic and natural damage and personal disruption, local opposition is also rooted in Kurds’ historic distrust of the Turkish state, following generations of repression and mass murder. Trust can only be built through a historic settlement based on justice and humanity.