Mr Abdurrahman Bilgic
Turkish Embassy UK
43 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8PA
We write as civil society groups, public intellectuals, parliamentarians and concerned global citizens to express our support for protests today in Turkey and elsewhere around the world against the planned Ilisu Dam in SE Turkey and the wanton destruction of globally important cultural heritage that this will involve.
The dam has been rejected for funding by governments in several European Union countries and by the World Bank, due to its social, environmental, cultural and downstream impacts. If completed, it would destroy the livelihoods of up to 80.000 people, mainly Kurds, in 199 villages and Hasankeyf. The vast majority would end up in poverty and debt. Hasankeyf and hundreds of more sites of 12.000 human history would be flooded without to be excavated seriously, a “development” with the culture, history and nature would be made impossible. The mostly natural river ecosystems of up to 400 km length would also be affected without the impacts having been properly investigated. The impacts on people in Iraq, particularly in the southern Mesopotamian Marshes, would be extremely grave too as they depend mainly on the rivers for agriculture and drinking water supply.
The Turkish government says that the dam is nearly completed. But, in our view, it is not too late to reconsider.
Two years ago the 1st Global Hasankeyf Day was organized. This was also the time when the Turkish government restarted the armed conflict in the Kurdish region which led to an increase in political repression which affected also the anti-Ilisu campaign and thus accelerated the dam construction.
We are alarmed by the recent actions of the Turkish authorities in using explosives to destroy rocks at the citadel which is part of the ancient city of Hasankeyf. This action, which had no proper legal permission, triggered the start of a new level in the destruction of the outstanding and unique cultural and natural heritage of the 12.000 years old settlement and the Tigris Valley. Simultaneously people also being pushed out of Hasankeyf. Cultural heritage removal has also been started. In May 2017 the first of 9 monuments, the Zeynel Bey Tomb, was relocated.
Hasankeyf has a strong symbolic value for all people in Turkey and worldwide struggling against dams and other destructive investment projects.
Today representatives from dozen of civil organizations all over Turkey will come to Hasankeyf and meet local people. The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive has in the called upon the regional population to join this gathering, despite the area being under a state of emergency since summer 2016.
The Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Campaign in Baghdad and Silemani have announced protests. The agriculture and drinking water supplies for hundred of thousand of Iraqis are threatened by the Ilisu Project.
The protest is directed directly to the Turkish government, the two involved international companies Andritz from Austria and Bresser from Netherlands and the two Turkish banks Akbank and Garantibank (whose main shareholder is BBVA/Spain). It will criticize also the Iraqi government and international organizations which keep silent because of political interests with Turkey although Hasankeyf and its surrounding Tigris Valley fulfill 9 of 10 UNESCO criteria for being a site of international cultural importance!
We enclose the statement that has been issued for 23 September 2017 protests by The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive. We wish to affirm our solidarity with it and request that you relay it to the Turkish Government, with the request that Turkey reconsider this destructive and unnecessary project.
Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan
Nick Hildyard, The Corner House
Southall Black Sisters
Rahila Gupta, journalist and writer
Dr Derek Wall, Green Party joint International coordinator
Ross Greer MSP
Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed; editor, Insurge intelligence; Visiting Research Fellow, Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University
Dr Tom Wakeford, Reader in Public Science, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University
Margaret Owen, barrister, Director of WPD
Professor Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
Dr Najde Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS
Steve Sweeney, journalist and visitor to Hasankeyf in May 2017
Isabel Kaeser, PhD student, SOAS
Jonathan Bloch, author
David Morgan, journalist
Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Dr Jasber Singh, Senior Research Fellow in Participatory Practice, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), Coventry University
Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland, Deputy Convenor
Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director
Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB
Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Cambridge University
Dr Radha D’Souza, writer and social justice activist
Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, researcher, lecturer, writer
Dr Sarah Glynn, architect, Dundee
Tom Anderson, researcher, writer
Eliza Egret, researcher, writer
Melanie Gingell, barrister
Meg Rosoff, author
Prof. Mary Davis
Goran Zangana, Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan
Saleh Mamon, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Trevor Rayne, FRFI
Sarah Parker, Haringey Left UNITY
Jo Magpie, journalist
Bill Randall, Former Mayor of Brighton & Hove
Kevin Allen, Brighton & Hove City Councillor
Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK
David Harrison, retired writer
Alan Manktelour, UK citizen
Gokhan Akmann UK/TR
Amy Hall, UK citizen
For information contact
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Mobile: 07846 666804