Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, The Corner House and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA

April 28, 2018

Dear Prime Minister,

The Ilisu Dam and Turkey’s use of water as a weapon of war

We write as civil society organizations to draw your attention to the imminent impoundment by Turkey of the Ilisu Dam on River Tigris in contravention of international customary law relating to shared waterways, which requires negotiation and agreement on downstream flows. The announced impoundment of Ilisu comes at a time when Turkey is recklessly and illegally using water as a weapon of war against Northern Syria, denying those affected of their right to water, threatening to exacerbate the existing conflicts in the region and causing severe suffering to those who have already suffered seven years of brutal civil war. We would urge you to protest Turkey’s intended impoundment of Ilisu and to use all available diplomatic means to mediate a peaceful and fair settlement between Turkey, Syria and Iraq on the use of their shared rivers. Continue reading


 Seminar  held on 3 February 2018 from 2-6pm  at

DLT Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London WC1H OXG View Map

 Organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, The Corner House, People’s Knowledge, Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, Kongra-Star, Kurdistan Students Union and SOAS Kurdish Society


 Session 1:  Film – “Water’s date of death” Continue reading

Capitalism Nature Socialism

Prospects for Kurdish Ecology Initiatives in Syria

and Turkey: Democratic Confederalism and Social Ecology

Stephen E. Hunt

To cite this article: Stephen E. Hunt (2017): Prospects for Kurdish Ecology Initiatives in Syria and Turkey: Democratic Confederalism and Social Ecology, Capitalism Nature Socialism, DOI:


To link to this article:

Library Services, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK


This paper surveys the nascent experiments in political ecology underway in

predominantly Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey, known as Bakûr, and

Rojava (northern Syria). The Kurdish freedom movement is attempting to

consolidate a social revolution with ecology at its heart in a most

unpromising context, given its ongoing struggle against Islamic State and

regional embargoes. This greening of its ideology can be significantly

attributed to the influence of American social ecologist Murray Bookchin, an

inspiration for Kurdish attempts to implement democratic confederalism,

which comprises principles of direct democracy, gender equality and

ecological well-being in a needs-based economy. The Mesopotamian Ecology

Movement has emerged from activist campaigns opposing dam construction,

climate change and deforestation in the region, to inform ecology councils

tasked with formulating policies that reflect this philosophical paradigm shift.

The essay considers the prospects for the ecological initiatives in Turkish and

Syrian Kurdistan. It argues that, confronted by formidable challenges,

expansion of the democratic confederal model beyond the heartlands of

Bakûr and Rojava, and international solidarity, are preconditions for their


ARTICLE HISTORY Received 31 March 2017; Accepted 3 October 2017

KEYWORDS Kurdistan; Rojava; environmental issues; social ecology; Murray Bookchin

The ecological struggle is the touchstone for the liberation of all humanity.

(MEM 2016a)

There are nascent but already extraordinary experiments in political

ecology underway in Kurdistan. Ecological well-being is one of the core principles

of democratic confederalism emerging in the predominantly Kurdish

areas of south-eastern Turkey, known by Kurds as Bakûr, and the autonomous

cantons of Rojava, in northern Syria. This bold expression of political

ecology can be attributed to a significant degree to the influence of American

social ecologist Murray Bookchin upon Abdullah Öcalan, the founder of the

© 2017 The Center for Political Ecology Continue reading

Ecological and gender dimensions of the democratic-confederalist approach in northern Syria: an inter-cultural dialogue

Background documents:

  1. MESOPOTAMIAN ECOLOGY MOVEMENT Principles, Functioning and Objectives

Approved at the 1st Conference of the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement (MEM) on April 23+24, 2016, in Wan

Website: – Email: Principles

* The earth is a whole. It cannot be divided and limited by dominant powers. The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement (MEM) is politically active in Upper Mesopotamia and leads struggles on a pluralistic basis in cooperation with all living beings against each kind of ecological destructions and exploitations.

Continue reading

Ecological and gender dimensions of the democratic confederalist approach in Northern Syria : an inter-cultural dialogue

Saturday 3 February at 14:00–18:00

Location: DLT Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, WC1H 0XG

Since the early 2000s, the Kurdish freedom movement, inspired by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan, has rejected a state-based “solution” to the social and economic injustices that pervade the Kurdish majority regions in particular and the Middle East more generally.


Continue reading

German-based project raise money for health and social centre in Rojava

This German-based Initiative is close to raising €150,000 to build an ecologically-sustainable health and social centre for the people of Kobane. You can still make a donation (see details below):

Nationwide initiative for ecological rebuilding in Kobanê / Rojava,

Assist us – 150.000€ for the ecological arrangement of a health and social center in Kobane as a model for the ecological rebuilding of the Region

The city of Kobanê in Rojava (West Kurdistan / Syria) disengaged itself in January 2015 by / under big sacrifices from the Fascist powers of the IS (“Islamic State”). The IS left a trace of destruction behind itself. 80% of Kobane is still destroyed today. The new local community, which the Syrian- Kurdish population builds up in Rojava, is a prototype for the whole Middle East. It puts into practice equality for all people, democracy, religious freedom, equal rights for women and men and the unity of mankind and nature as a guideline of the sociological development.

Continue reading

Mesopotamian Ecology Movement call to action against forest fires and ecological warfare

Please contact the organiser if you want to take part!

+++ Mesopotamian Ecology Movement +++

*10.000 hectares burnt down in Kurdistan by the Turkish Army – International Delegation needed more than ever!*


We want to renew our call to form an international delegation to investigate the forest fires in North-Kurdistan caused by the Turkish Army. It is more and more urgent to raise international public as in the last one week the number of forest fires and burnt forests increase daily.

Around ten days ago activists of our movement did a first investigation together with a group of Turkish ecological activists in different parts of Kurdistan (the report will be published in the next days). According to this and further gathered information from local people the number of forest fires has exceeded the number of 50 in at least eight provinces: Dersim (Tunceli), Çewlik (Bingöl), Amed (Diyarbakır), Mardin, Siirt, Şirnex (Şırnak), Çolemerg (Hakkari) and Bitlis. The total number of forest areas burnt down in the last one month has reached 10.000 hectares land! We are concerned that this will be intensified in the next weeks as long as the military operations of the Turkish Army continue. Continue reading

Save Hasankeyf: Statement from the demonstration today at the Andritz offices, Derbyshire, UK

We received this statement from a group of solidarity activists raising their voices about the massive displacement and ecological destruction taking place in the regions around Hasankeyf in southern Turkey, where a huge internationally funded dam building project has been ongoing for several years. The group protested against Andritz Hydro, a company based in Belper, Derbyshire, which is playing a leading role in the construction of the Ilisu dam, which, if constructed, would leave the 12,000 year old town of Hasankeyf under water. 

Find out more about actions agains the Ilisu Dam here

Today people came together to protest against Andritz Hydro, a company that plays a leading role in the construction of the Ilisu dam in North Kurdistan (the area of Kurdistan which lies within eastern Turkey).

We hung a banner from a bridge which forms part of the building where Andritz has its offices in Belper, Derbyshire in the UK. We hung a banner, which read: “Andritz Hydro = Ilisu Dam. 78,000 people displaced in Kurdistan.” Continue reading

Ilisu Dam’s construction may be continued after a 4 month halt

We received the press release below from theInitiative to keep Hasankeyf Alive, which brings news that the Turkish State Hydraulic Works (DSI), which is in charge of the construction of the highly criticised Ilisu Dam, has announced they will continue working on the site immediately:

Press Release


Ilisu Dam’s construction may be continued after a 4 month halt! 

Stop Ilisu – stop destruction and instability!

The Turkish State Hydraulic Works (DSI) has announced few days ago that after a four month break that the construction of the highly criticized Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Powerplant Project will continue immediately. If the construction starts again, the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River may be finished next year which would lead to a huge social, cultural and ecological destruction and also a higher political instability. Continue reading