Hasankeyf can still be saved from destruction

The water of the Ilisu reservoir has reached the historical site Hasankeyf in the Northern Kurdistan province of Batman. The Hasankeyf Coordination calls for the flooding to be stopped and a disaster to be prevented.

The Hasankeyf Coordination, an association of initiatives to save the historical cultural site in Northern Kurdistan, demands the stop of the flooding of the Tigris Valley by the Ilisu Dam. In an appeal published today it says:

"To date, 35 villages have been flooded by the Ilisu dam. The water has now reached Hasankeyf. The site belongs on a universal level to the most important cultural and natural heritage of mankind. The inhabitants of the Tigris Valley are not prepared for it and are being driven from their homes. Especially in the province of Siirt many people had to flee from their villages because of the rapidly rising water and had to leave behind parts of their property".

It's not too late

"Since August, people have been taken out of Hasankeyf. Forty families still live in the town because they have no other place to live and do not know where to take their animals. Despite the destruction in the Tigris valley we can still stop the catastrophe. Even now, the abandonment of the Ilisu project is still a benefit for us and for future generations. The government must be urged to stop the flooding of the Ilisu dam. The situation is very urgent, we have no time to lose.

Unique place in human history

The flooding of Hasankeyf began in July 2019. The cultural site, whose roots reach back to the Bronze Age, is a unique place in human history: twenty Eastern and Western cultures have left their traces here. 5,500 caves, hundreds of previously discovered monuments and a fascinating interweaving with rocks and the Tigris give the site global significance. According to experts, Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris valley - one of the last remaining major river ecosystems in Turkey - meet nine out of ten criteria for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provide a livelihood for up to 100,000 people. But the Turkish government wants the historic city to be submerged for the sake of the Ilisu hydroelectric power plant, which is designed to operate for 50 years and is one of the most controversial dam projects in the world.