Save Hasankeyf! No filling of the Ilisu Dam Reservoir!

+++ International Urgent Call to Turkish Government and International Public +++

It‘s not too late to SAVE HASANKEYF and Tigris River!

No filling of the Ilisu Dam Reservoir!

For 12.000 years, Hasankeyf in the Southeast of Turkey has been a site of uninterrupted human settlement. With the labour of dozen of cultures this outstanding universal site has been created on the banks of the Tigris River and adjacent small valleys and hills. Recent excavations show that Hasankeyf lays atop of a deep, uncovered cultural heritage. Independent researchers state that Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valleyare as important historically as Ephesus, Troy and Cappadocia and fulfill 9 out of the 10 UNESCO criteria for a World Heritage Site. It is assumed that Hasankeyf is the twin of Göbeklitepe, a sanctuary site 225 km to the west with a similar age, which led to global new conclusions on history’s first human settlement.

While the Turkish government achieved the inclusion of Göbeklitepe in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley is planned to be flooded by the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project, which is almost fully constructed. In recent statements the Turkish government announced that it will start the filling of the Ilisu dam reservoir on June 10, 2019. Officials add that in October 2019 Hasankeyf town would be affected by raising water level.

The Ilisu Project was and is a completely wrong and destructive investment. That is why since the beginning the project it was strongly opposed not only at the local level in Turkey, but also in Iraq, Syria and globally. Contrary to official claims, the dam would have no socio-economic or any other benefit for the majority of society in the affected region and up to 80.000 people would loose their livelihoods. Apart from Hasankeyf, an important part of the not yet excavated cultural heritage in Upper Mesopotamia along the Tigris River would be flooded. The biodiversity of the Tigris River ecosystem – still mainly natural – would be degraded significantly. The Ilisu Project would also gravely affect the downstream stretches of the Tigris, seriously jeopardizing the water supply of major Iraqi towns, and Iraqi agriculture would be put under serious risk. In particular the UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq would be threatened with drying out due to reduced downstream flows.

In the last few years, the government’s program of so-called “monument relocation and consolidation of rocks” has seriously damaged the cultural heritage in Hasankeyf. But there is still so much cultural heritage left to rescue. Despite the project near completion, we believe strongly that the cancellation of the Ilisu project would stimulate a process from which the broader local population, Turkey and Iraq would benefit directly, economically as well as socially and culturally.

We call upon on the Turkish government not to start the filling by the Ilisu Dam, neither in June nor later. Instead a new broad, participative and transparent discussion with all representatives of the local population on the future of the affected five provinces should be started. Based on the common outcomes of these participatory discussions, policies on the future of the Tigris Valley and the surrounding region should be developed and implemented with the agreement of all affected parties. Another condition should be the achievement of a mutual agreement with Iraq and Syria according to international law, which should guarantee sufficient water flows into the Mesopotamian Marshes and southern Iraq.

We call on all people and organizations all around the world to support our demands and to launch similar calls on the Turkish government!

A call by:

Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Turkey

Save the Tigris Campaign, Iraq

Mountain Watch, Iran

Humat Dijlah, Iraq

Make Rojava Green Again, Rojava/Syria

Mesopotamia Ecology Movement, Turkey

Waterkeeper Iraq, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Hasankeyf Matters, Turkey

Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI), Iraq

Ecology Union, Turkey

Munzur Environmental Association, Turkey

Iraqi Social Forum, Iraq

Green Rage Ecology Collective, Turkey

People’s Campaign to Support Kind Zagros, Iran

TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Engineers and Architects) Urban Planners, Ankara Branch, Turkey

Civil Development Organization (CDO), Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Campaign Right to Water, Turkey

350Ankara, Turkey

Çoruh Conservation Union, Turkey

Life and Solidarity Travelers, Turkey

Green Resistence – Ecology and Life Newspaper, Turkey

Antalya Ecology Council, Turkey

Alakır Sister-/Brotherhood, Turkey

HDK Ecology Council, Turkey

Black Sea Region in Rebellion, Turkey

Northern Forests Defense, Turkey

Saqiz Environment Protectors, Saqiz, Kurdistan, Iran

Shney Piro Institution, Muchish, Kurdistan/Iran

Kareza Environmental Institution, Kurdistan/Iran

Shney Nojin Institution, Kurdistan/Iran

Helebce Environmental Protector, Halabja, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Kurd Organization for Environment and Education, Halabja, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Green Kurdistan Population, Kurdistan/Iran

Pajin Institution, Bane, Kurdistan/Iran

Green Chiya Institution, Meriwan, Kurdistan/Iran

Lebanon Eco Movement, Lebanon

Eco-Conscience, Tunisia

The Peoples’ Advocacy Foundation for Justice and Redress, South Africa

Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition), Asia

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Pakistan
Environment Support Group, India

Inter-American Vigilance for the Defense and the Right to Water (Red VIDA), The Americas
Chile Sustainable, Chile
April Foundation (Fundacion Abril), Bolivia
Movement of Defence of Water, Land and Environment (MODATIMA), Chile

Movement of Dam Affected People (MAB), Brazil

Friends of Earth, El Salvador

Veracruz Assembly of Initiators to Defend the Environment (La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental), Mexico

Center of Applied Studies on Ecology and Environmental Sustainability (Ecos El Salvador) (Centro de Estudios Aplicados en Ecología y Sustentabilidad Ambiental), El Salvador

National Forum of Water Central America (Foro Nacional del Agua Centro América), El Salvador

Federacion National de Trabajadores del Agua Potable y Alcantarillado del Peru (FENTAP), Peru

Otros Mundos Chiapas A.C., México

European Water Movement

Earth Thrive, Balkan

Odbranimo reke Stare planine, Serbia

Ekologistak Martxan, Basque Country

Network for a New Water Culture (XNCA), Catalonia

Ende Gelände, Germany

Ecologists in Action, Spain

World Heritage Watch (WHW), Germany

Platform in Defence of the Ebro River, Catalonia

UPP – Un Ponte Per, Italy

CounterCurrent, Germany

The Corner House, UK

Friends of Earth, France

Italian Forum of Water Movements

Riverwatch – Society for the Protection of Rivers, Austria

Animals Are Sentient Beings, USA

Coordination EAU Île-de-France, France

Plan C, UK

Shoal Collective, UK

Hasankeyf Initiative Berlin, Germany

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA

Coordination EAU bien commun, France

Urgewald, Germany

Idle No More SF Bay, California/USA

EcoMujer, Germany

Solidarity Economy Association, UK

FreshWater Accountability Project, USA

Plataforma Ciudadana Zaragoza sin Fractura, Spain

Association of Popular Culture Alborada, Gallur/Spain

International Rivers, USA

Solifonds, Switzerland

Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), Netherlands

Ecological Center DRONT, Russia

Ecosocialist Horizons, USA

Socio-Ecological Union International, Russia

Biodiversity Conservation Center, Russia

Earth Law Centre, USA

Green Anti-Capitalist Front, UK

Cambridge Social Ecology Group, UK

Integral Cooperative of Heraklion, Crete/Greece

BankTrack, Netherlands

Komite Internazionalistak, Basque Country

Italian Committee For World Water Contract, Italy

Earth Guardians, USA

European Sanitation Initiative (EuSAIN)

Berlin Water Table, Germany

ENVJUSTICE-EJAtlas project, ICTA – Autonomous University of Barcelona, Catalonia

Babylonia Journal, Greece

Transnational Institute of Social Ecology (TRISE), Greece

More information:



Twitter: @hasankeyfdicle


May 19, 2019

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