The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture: Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP

Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Whitehall
London SW1A 2AH

10 June 2019
Dear Foreign Secretary,

 The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture

Over the past two decades, we have written to your predecessors on numerous occasions to express our grave concerns over the adverse environmental, social and geopolitical impacts of the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris in Turkey, which is now nearing completion. The Turkish Government has now announced its intention to start filling the reservoir on or after 10 June 2019.

You will recall that in 2001 the UK construction company Balfour Beatty, which had been seeking UK  export credit support for the project, withdrew from the project after parliamentarians, experts and non-governmental organisations had expressed their opposition.  Since then, other EU companies have also withdrawn due to environmental, human rights, cultural heritage and other concerns.

The dam was planned without consultation with downstream states, in contravention with international customary law.  Even today, decades after construction began, there is no agreement between Turkey, Syria and Iraq on downstream flows; this despite expert reports suggesting that operation of the dam, in conjunction with a further planned project at Cizre, could reduce the flow of the Tigris during dry years to a trickle. There is a very real fear that the project could seriously jeopardizing the water supply of major Iraqi towns, and put agriculture downstream at risk. The UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq would be threatened with drying out due to reduced downstream flows. The potential for the dam to exacerbate existing regional conflicts, not least over water, is thus severe, a threat recognised by the FCO under previous administrations.

The dam is opposed internationally. Indeed, the announcement of the proposed filling of the reservoir caused protests in Turkey, Iraq, continental Europe and the UK. A particular focus of concern is the loss of the ancient city of Hasankeyf, a site of international historical and cultural importance whose flooding (should the reservoir be filled) would be a loss not just to the region but to humanity as a whole. The threat posed by the Ilisu Dam project prompted the World Monuments Fund to list the city on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Continue reading

  Call for “2nd Hasankeyf Global Action Day”  

+++ Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive +++
23 September 2017

We call activists, social movements, NGO’s and all others in the world to join the second global action day for the defense of Hasankeyf and the Tigris River on 23rd September 2017! It is under threat by the Ilisu Project; lets protest this one of most controversial dams in the world! Continue reading

Open letter to the Dutch company Bresser Eurasia and the Greek company Korres Engineering both of whom are joining the project to relocate the Zeynel Bey Tomb in Hasankeyf.

1) Bresser Eurasia BV. Viltweg 1p, P.O. Box 5231, 3295 ZJ ’s-Gravendeel, The Netherlands by email: Info@bresser.nu 2) Korres Engineering 9 Varnali Str., Melissia 151 27, Athens, Greece by email: info@korres-engineering.com

Request to withdraw from the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in Hasankeyf/Turkey 05.12.2016

Dear Mr. Taco Bresser, Bresser Eurasia, Dear Mr. Dimitri Korres, Korres Engineering,

As representatives of civil society organisations working to save Hasankeyf, an ancient city in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey, we write to urge you to withdraw from the project to relocate the Tomb of Zeynel Bey. From recent communication with Korres Engineering we understand that your companies are jointly providing the technical expertise and capability required to the Turkish company “Er-Bu” for the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb, with Korres Engineering contributing to the planning and Bresser Eurasia in charge of the physical lifting and transporting of the monument. We invite you to meet with us to discuss further the concerns outlined below. Continue reading

New research paper: Security, development, and the Greater Anatolia Project

Here we republish a paper by Arda Bilgen for Research Turkey on the relationship between security and development in the context of Turkey’s Greater Anatolia Project, one of the largest river basin development projects in the world and the largest single development project carried out by Turkey. It includes plans to build 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power plants, all on lands with 90% Kurdish population.

 

THE GREATER ANATOLIA PROJECT (GAP)

A Static Nexus or a Dynamic Network? Rethinking the Security-Development Relationship within the Context of Southeastern Anatolia Project

Abstract

The concepts of security and development have been central to the theory and practice of international affairs. Even though there is little sense of common agreement within both arenas, there is a seeming consensus among international organizations, key think-tanks, and university-based research that security and development are interconnected. Arguably, the political and bureaucratic elite of Turkey has also long assumed that fusing security and development was desirable and would produce positive outcomes. The Southeastern Anatolia Project (Guneydogu Anadolu Projesi, or GAP in its Turkish acronym), the large-scale, multi-sectoral regional development project initiated in early 1980s in Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, sets a good example as to how the elite has conceived development–GAP in particular–as a complementary means to deal with Turkey’s Kurdish question and to maintain peace and security. This study examines this “nexus” between security and development and discusses the common and contrasting functions of these concepts with specific focus on how they were conceived within GAP framework. The study emphasizes that although it has become fashionable to talk about such a “nexus”, the relationship between security and development is far from being simple, static, and one-dimensional, and linking these concepts do not always lead to positive results. Therefore, the study puts forward an alternative approach and emphasizes that conceiving security-development relationship as a dynamic network of interconnections is a more flexible, inclusive, and fruitful approach.

Continue reading

URGENT CALL OF SOLIDARITY FOR THE “HOPA” PRISONERS IN TURKEY

The Hopa Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee demands freedoms for the peaceful campaigners arrested while protesting against the building of a hydro-electrical dam in Hopa:

URGENT CALL OF SOLIDARITY FOR THE “HOPA” PRISONERS IN TURKEY

STOP CRIMINALIZING PEOPLE WHO DEFEND LIFE WE DEMAND FREEDOM FOR HOPA PRISONERS!

The below text is prepared in order to inform the international public on the events in the process of the so-called Hopa legal case, to pull attention to the scope, meaning and possible results of this process and to contribute to the efforts of solidarity with the imprisoned life defenders. Continue reading