Petition against relocation of monuments in Hasankeyf continues

The petition campaign launched by the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement and Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive against relocation of monuments in Hasankeyf, continues.

The petition addresses two companies Er-Bu İnsaat Company in Turkey and Bresser Eurasia BV in the Netherlands. The two companies will be carrying out the operation of relocation monuments in Hasankeyf, a historic district of Batman province.

With the construction of Ilisu Dam, the city center of Hasankeyf will be buried under water along with several historical monuments.

Having already relocated Hasankeyf’s Zeynel Bey Tomb in mid-May, the Turkish government plans to relocate 8 other monuments in Hasankeyf. Activists oppose the relocation and want the project to be halted immediately.

Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive launched a petition to be sent to two company which will carry out the relocation of monuments.

The text of the petition reads:

“Dear Mr. Tunç, Mr. Çetin and Mr. Bresser,

We demand in the strongest possible terms that you withdraw immediately from the project to relocate several monuments in the antique town of Hasankeyf in the Kurdish Southeast of Turkey.

Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley are planned to be flooded by the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project. It would lead to grave social, cultural and ecological impacts in a larger region which has endured poverty and forced displacement for decades. Almost all 80.000 affected people and regional society reject the dam, which would not benefit them at all. It would violate also the right to access to water in Iraq, which relies substantially on the Tigris, and it would threaten the Mesopotamian Marshes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Without your consulting and implementing role, the DSI, acting on behalf of the Turkish government, would not be able to relocate up to 9 monuments in Hasankeyf to a new site. Since the revival of the Ilisu Project in 2005, the relocation of monuments has been a crucial element of the government’s untenable propaganda that Hasankeyf would be rescued through the Ilisu Project. The completion of the relocation is a precondition for the flooding.

Thus it is unacceptable that you reduce your role to technical implementation! Hasankeyf is such an outstanding site that its conservation would be economically more beneficial than the Ilisu Project. Hasankeyf would fulfil 9 of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Criteria if Turkey applied to UNESCO.

Neither the DSI nor your two firms have ever tried to consult any local people or organizations regarding the relocation project. There is absolutely no transparency. Despite being well-known specialists in historic preservation, you do not take into account that the affected monuments are fundamental elements of Hasankeyf, which is an integral whole comprising both immovable and intangible heritage. The integral nature of the Hasankeyf socio-economic ecosystem, including the villages of the hinterland, forms a strong part of the identity of people in Hasankeyf and the surrounding region. The DSI and also you have violated universal human rights, which are affirmed by international standards, including the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (CETS 121) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, both of which mandate the systematic and substantive consultation of local populations in such projects.

If you want to step back from being part of destroying outstanding cultural heritage, you could withdraw from the relocation project by referring to these breaches of international standards. It is still not too late for you!”

The petition can be signed online on this web address: