Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Statement of Hasankeyf platform

Local government representatives, local NGOs and chambers working in the settlement areas directly influenced by the Ilisu Dam have come together to discuss recent developments related to the Ilisu Dam Project. The “Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive” has thus been formed in order to give a voice to the thoughts and standpoints of people living in those areas.

Construction of the Ilisu Dam, which had been stopped once after extended campaigns that has resulted in the withdrawal of the project’s international partner, will be given an official start again in March 2006. Throughout last week, the State Waterworks Administration (DSI)’s 10th Regional Directorate and the Ilisu Consortium’s Turkey representative Nurol Construction and Trading Co. Inc. have jointly organized meetings to formally re-introduce the project to the region. During these meetings, the local government representatives, NGOs and chambers in the region have been “informed” about this project in the name of the principles of “participatory framework” and “transparency”—although all the decision-making processes of project were finalized and the start date had already been determined as the beginning of March 2006—and the participants were asked to give support to the project!

The responsibility to protect 12.000 years of history is all of ours!

Since the project was stopped after national and international campaigns we carried out in opposition as the local governments, local and international NGOs and chamber representatives in the region, there has occurred not even the slightest change in our approach to the project.
The burial of Hasankeyf under waters together with its twelve-thousand-year-old history and its magnificent natural wholeness, texture and beauty would mean the loss of an invaluable cultural and historical heritage that belongs to not only the people of Hasankeyf and our country but all humanity. Hasankeyf is entrusted to us by the history of civilization and the future generations; and the responsibility to protect it is all of ours. Furthermore, the technical details of the project at stake are exactly the same with those of the previously impeded project. There does not exist a new planning that brings about any new approach to the project as well.

Ilisu Dam and HEPP Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) have not been shared with the society!

The so-called dialogue that took place with the soon-to-be-displaced 83.000 people in the course of activities to update Ilisu Dam and HEPP Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) constitutes only a pretense of the real aim, which was to determine the expropriation rates. Hasankeyf Municipality and local NGOs, which have been engaged with the project since its very beginnings, were not invited to the Ankara meeting of July 2005 where the details of Hasankeyf’s relocation process were discussed. Also, the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR), completed in July, and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) have not been translated into Turkish yet, which makes it impossible for most of the people who will be directly influenced and harmed by the project and their local representatives to have access to this information. The Ilisu Dam, the HEPP Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and the Resettlement Action Plan (URAP) have not been shared with the public.

It was decided to fight an effective struggle!

On January 3rd 2006, a meeting was held in Diyarbakir with the participation of more than 30 local government, NGO and chamber representatives. Consequently, a committee (headed by the Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities, the Hasankeyf Municipality, the Hasankeyf Volunteers Association, the Diyarbakir Local Agenda 21, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (UCTEA)-Diyarbakir City Coordination Committee and the Diyarbakir and Batman Bars) was elected to coordinate activities of the “Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive”. The committee has decided to FIGHT AN EFFECTIVE STRUGGLE in order to protect Hasankeyf’s unique and irreplaceable ecological, cultural and historical riches, among which are the more than 200 to-be-flooded barrows, and to defend the cultural, social and economic rights of the local people who will be harmed by the construction of the dam.

Hasankeyf does not smile; its stories, many of which we are yet to hear, its voice and people are being silenced once again. Now, Hasankeyf needs help and support of the public more than ever before. This is an urgent call to all the public: let’s enable Hasankeyf to live and prevent its 12.000 year old history from being buried underwater. We can achieve this together.

Members of the “Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive”

Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities, Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality, Batman Municipality, Yenisehir Municipality, Bismil Municipality, Hasankeyf Municipality, Besiri Municipality, Dargeçit Municipality, Diyarbakir Museum Association, Diyarbakir Democracy Platform (34 member organizations), Volunteers for Hasankeyf Association, Union of Health and Social Service Workers (SES), ESM, Diyarbakir Bar, Batman Bar, Immigrants’ Association for Social Cooperation and Culture (GÖÇ-DER), Volunteers for Environment Association, Foundation for the Protection and Promotion of the Environmental and Cultural Heritage (ÇEKÜL), Batman Petroleum, Chemical, Rubber Workers' Union, Local Agenda 21, Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (UCTEA) Diyarbakir City Coordination Council, Chamber of Architects, Chamber of Civil Engineers, Chamber of Electric Engineers, Chamber of Environmental Engineers, Chamber of Geologists, Chamber of Urban Planners, Human Rights Association.

Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive
5 Jan 2006

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