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A place for discussion and exchanging ideas about Kurdistan issues here, also a place for sharing article & views and analysis about Kurdistan .

Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:41 pm

Save Sarawak
Stop the Dams


The indigenous peoples of Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, have been struggling to defend their culture, forests and lands against a series of mega-dams. They have been confronting the government as well as local and international companies and the international hydropower lobby group "International Hydropower Association" with the consequences of their corruption and profit driven mega-project. Watch the birth and growth of an inspiring movement for justice and the environment in this documentary by Linus Chung.

https://youtu.be/wewbJbo7I1Q

Stop the Dams!
The Borneo Project


Massive hydroelectric dams in Sarawak are destroying the remaining forests of the region while violating the rights of the indigenous people who have called that land home for generations. And it gets worse… the Malaysian government is planning on building 12 additional dams.

The people of Sarawak know what happens when dams are built in remote areas of the province. The government may promise that people will be relocated to prime locations and will be given new homes and good schools, yet the reality never lives up to the promises.

According to International Rivers, the Bakun dam, which was finished in 2010, put 700 square kilometers of virgin rainforest and prime farmland under water. An estimated 9,000 native residents, mainly from the Kayan/Kenyah indigenous group, were relocated and were forced to pay close to US$15,000 for homes, despite being subsistence farmers with no previous participation in the Sarawakian economy. Read more about the Bakun Dam.

Indigenous leaders in affected areas — especially on the Baram River– have stood up against dam expansion. As they state: “Flood from the dam and the infrastructure associated with the construction will definitely bring irreparable damage to the whole environment.

It will destroy a heritage for which all Malaysian or human race should respect and harness.” Recently, it was announced that the Baram Dam would be put on hold, and that the Baleh Dam would go ahead first.

Now is the time to take action against dam expansion. The Borneo Project’s allies and partners — particularly SAVE Rivers, the Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS), the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, and Communities’ Information and Communication Center (CICOM) — are leading the charge against dam expansion.

The Borneo Project is supporting their work through helping with funding for educational projects, bringing international awareness to the issue, campaigning against those are pushing these dams through, and releasing a series of short films that exposes the realities behind the dams.

For the latest information on the fight against dam expansion in Malaysia, be sure to follow our website:

http://www.borneoproject.org.

    THEY STOPPED THE DAMS

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asi ... rainforest
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Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

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Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:27 am

Dead are last to leave ancient
town before submerging


The chugging of heavy machinery echoed through Hasankeyf, an ancient town on the banks of the Tigris in southeastern Turkey on a recent Sundayal. The settlement, soon to be inundated by the waters of a nearby dam, was no stranger to earth-moving works over its 12,000-year history, but the diggers' task on this day was particularly gloomy. With the town’s residents already resettled elsewhere, the time had now come to move the dead.

The relocation of graves punctuates Hasankeyf having reached the end of the road after years of protests and legal battles to halt construction of the Ilisu Dam. The saga began for local residents in the late 1960s when a group of strangers arrived by mule. The locals had initially mistaken the men for tourists, but they turned out to be engineers dispatched to take water-level measurements of the Tigris.

In 1980, Turkish officials gave the go-ahead for a hydroelectric dam as part of a massive development project for the impoverished, predominately Kurdish southeast. The Tigris, the lifeblood of Hasankeyf for millennia, would now drown the town, along with its unique heritage dating back to Neolithic times.

Mired in controversy, the process dragged on for years, until Ankara tendered the project in 1997. Another decade passed amid funding snags as a number of European companies and lenders reneged on the project. With Ankara forced to pay the bill, construction finally kicked off in 2006. The point of no return arrived earlier this year, when the process of filling the dam got underway after postponement due to downstream protests of water shortages in drought-stricken Iraq in 2018.

At the cemetery in Hasankeyf, earth movers were opening graves in the presence of surviving relatives. Two men descended into the pits to collect bones. With utmost care, they wrapped the remains in a shroud and placed them in coffins, which were then taken to a burial ground near New Hasankeyf, the settlement built for the displaced locals.

A man in his 40s walked into the cemetery and pointed to a grave. “This is cruelty,” he managed to utter, before erupting in tears. He had come to collect the remains of his mother and continued weeping as he watched the exhumation and then left with the coffin to give her a second burial.

Ramazan Baytap pointed to several tombs, identifying them for the workers. “This is my father. This is my mother. This is my sister,” he noted, adding that his forebears had lived in the area for three centuries.

“We do not want to move the graves, but there is nothing we can do,” Baytap told Al-Monitor, taking solace in at least being able to go to a new burial ground “to say a prayer” for his lost ones.

Cetin Cile, among the first to leave Hasankeyf, also returned, in his case also to move the grave of his mother, his only remaining bond to the town. Cile so disliked the new settlement erected for the residents some two miles away that he built his own home on nearby land that he owns.

At the new burial ground, he placed his mother's bones in a grave with his own hands. After saying a prayer, he told Al-Monitor, “We had no option but to move the grave. Otherwise, it would have been submerged, and it would have broken our hearts to leave it underwater.”

Locals who wish to relocate remains can do so after notifying authorities. About 500 have been moved thus far. Bulent Basaran, who had owned a tourism business in Hasankeyf, relocated the graves of his parents earlier this week. “We relived the pain of their deaths once again,” he said.

Ridvan Ayhan, an activist with a platform established years ago to save Hasankeyf, still refuses to believe the town will be swallowed by water and clings to the hope of an unlikely, last-minute intervention.

“The heritage here does not belong to us alone,” he told Al-Monitor. “It is the common heritage of humanity, which means that we alone cannot make decisions on whether to submerge it or not. I’m appealing to the international community: Hasankeyf must be saved.”

The relocation of graves has only reinforced the gloom that has descended on Hasankeyf. Ayhan remarked, “The people of this land are not at peace even in their graves.”

Some of the town's monuments have been wheeled to new locations, but critics continue to emphasize that many other artefacts and the unique character of the town will be lost forever. Ayhan noted that the dam will also destroy the ecosystem in the area due to the expected increase in humidity. The change will affect humans and other species alike.

Ayhan may refuse to accept Hasankeyf's looming fate, but the waters of the dam continue to rise several centimeters by the hour. Some have charged that the underlying aim of the project is to isolate Kurdish-populated areas, while government officials insist that producing energy and improving irrigation are the goals. Regardless, one thing for certain is that the legacy of 12 millennia of human history is being sacrificed for a dam with a lifespan of 50 years.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... ation.html
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Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:07 pm

12,000-year-old Turkish town begins
to vanish beneath rising waters


Turkish officials have begun the process of flooding a 12,000-year-old town to make way for a dam project to power the region

Hasankeyf, possibly one the of the oldest sites of human settlement, will start to become an artificial lake as water journeys down the Tigris river.

Authorities on the Ilısu hydroelectric dam project have started to fill the dam with water, at another stage of the river, 50 miles away. The town is in the south-east of the country in an area often referred to as Turkish Kurdistan due to the large Kurdish population.

It once housed a 12th Century bridge, a 15th Century pillar tomb, two dilapidated mosques and hundreds of natural mountain caves and was home to thousands of residents. The caves in the ancient city have survived as homes since the Neolithic era with some locals still using them as dwellings today. Marks have been left on the town by all civillisations that ruled the region, including the Mesopotamians, Romans and Ottomans.

Most of the artefacts, including a tomb, were moved last month to a location called New Hasankeyf and the townspeople are expected to follow by mid-October.

The decision, confirmed by the regional governor, Hulusi Sahin, at a meeting on Saturday, ignores decades' long resistance from campaigners and residents.

Newly married Mehmet, centre, and his wife Sultan, right, can be seen enjoying tea next to the Tigris river in southeastern Turkey, on August 17, 2019. The planned reservoir will completely or partially flood 199 villages and the homes of 78,000 people and a further 3,000 nomadic families. The dam, which is further downstream, has started to be filled

People can be seen here sitting on chairs in the Tigris which runs through the historical city of Hasankeyf. The inauguration of Turkey's controversial Ilisu dam on the Tigris River is likely to compound water shortages in neighbouring Iraq

Boys can be seen opening parasols next to the newly built stone wall in Hasankeyf in August this year. This settlement, which will be flooded by next month, was a former trading post along the Silk Road and has seen Romans, Byzantines, Turkic tribes and Ottomans leave their mark there

A woman takes a picture of the 12,000 year old ancient city of Hasankeyf, on the banks of the Tigris, in southeastern Turkey on August 17, 2019. Though the new wall stands, most of the ancient artefacts have already been moved to the new town

Devran Tunc, 28, owner of a coffee shop next to the Tigris River in the city centre, plays with his dog in Hasankeyf, in southeastern Turkey, on August 17, 2019. The area where Devran sat with his dog for the photograph last month will be completely underwater by this time next month. Families who have been in the town for centuries will have to move away

55-year-old Hacire Yalcin, pictured right, sits next to her sister-in-law in the middle of the Hasankeyf cemetery earlier this month. The graveyard is perched on the banks of the Tigris river so all corpses must be exhumed and transported to New Hasankeyf cemetery nearby

Hanife Ekinci, 55-years-old, waits next the grave of her father-in-law as a digger works to uncover the body which will be moved to the new Hasankeyf cemetery on September 15, 2019. The planned dam will drown the entirety of the town which has been inhabited in some way for 12,000 years

The dam and accompanying power plant will reportedly be capable of producing the same amount of electricity as a small nuclear plant

An elderly couple collects the last figs from their garden before the expected flooding of the ancient town. Some residents' families have lived in the town for 300 years

He said the site will be cordoned off on 8 October, leaving residents just over a month to relocate before the flooding starts.

'Entry and exit will not be allowed,' Sahin said.

'Time is running out, we all have our duties.'

The town will be submerged as part of the Ilisu Dam project which, according to Turkey's Foreign Ministry, will provide power to the region and have several economic and environmental benefits.

The dam was first dreamt up as a solution to the area's need for power and to irrigate the surrounding agricultural land in the 1950s but failed to gain traction until 2006.

The dam and accompanying power plant will be capable of producing the same amount of electricity as a small nuclear plant.

Young Kurdish boys can be seen playing in front of the Ilisu dam itself, 50 miles southeast of the historic city. The dam near Mardin city is beginning to be filled and Hasankeyf will be underwater by mid October

Young Kurdish boys enjoy in the water in front of the Ilisu dam, 50 miles southeast of Hasankeyf in Turkey's Kurdish dominated south-eastern region

Muhammed (left) and Hasret (right) enjoy a hot spring water dip in the Botan valley just a few miles away from the new dam. Lawmakers and activists have said that Turkish officials have started filling the nearby dam that will see ancient town Hasankeyf drown

Workers carry a corpse in the new Hasankeyf cemetery after they transferred it from the old Hasankeyf on September 12, 2019

The shrine of Imam Abdullah Zawiya (pictured left in the distance) can be seen during the transportation process to ensure it isn't damaged when Turkish officials flood the town of Hasankeyf in Batman, Turkey. The cylindrical Zeynel Bey Tomb (pictured front right) was also relocated to a new site to prevent any flood damage

Hacire Yalcin, 55-years-old cries at the grave of her sister Fadile's as she waits for her sister's grave to be transfered to new Hasankeyf cemetery on September 13, 2019. New Hasankeyf is a town with 710 houses for those who have been displaced

Many countries removed their support for the Ilisu Dam, including the UK back in 2001 and in 2008, numerous European firms withdrew their funding from the controversial project. A man tries to convince an old Kurdish lady to accept the removal of a grave to from the old cemetery to the new Hasankeyf cemetery

Hanife Ekinci, 55-years-old, waits next the grave of her father-in-law as a digger works to uncover the body which will be moved

Though the government has built a new town with 710 houses for those displaced, residents aren't happy about the forced relocation.

Local resident, Firat Argun, told CBSNews that his family has lived in the area for 300 years.

'We were living with hope but we lost that now. They gave us three to five months,' he said.

'I need to start all over again. I feel like I have just arrived in this world. I don't know if it is going to be good or bad.'

The historical caves overlooking the Hasankeyf valley (pictured above) are still used as dwellings today and a man can be seen above peering over his fence. The caves were originally used as homes in the Neolithic era

In this photo taken on May 12, 2017 shows a general view of Hasankeyf bridge across the Tigris River in the Hasankeyf district in Batman

Workers carry coffins as they move the corpses from the old Hasankeyf cemetery to the new cemetery on the banks of the Tigris

This photo shows another town in Turkey's south-east that was invaded with water like Hasankeyf will be come mid-October. Despite decade long protests to stop the flooding, Turkish authorities have begun the process

Workers lift a corpse from the old Hasankeyf cemetery to be moved to the new Hasankeyf cemetery on September 13, 2019 with the town overlooking the cemetery in the background

Hanife Ekinci, 55-years-old, waits next to her father-in-laws' grave which will be moved to the new Hasankeyf cemetrery before the waters flood the area of the old Hasankeyf cemetery on September 15, 2019

A worker holds the covered head of a corpse of a 15-year-old boy who died in 1997 in an accident in Hasankeyf as his 28-year-old brother Fatih (R) looks on, as they ready to transport it from the old cemetery to new one on September 13, 2019. The dam was first dreamt up as a solution to the area's need for power and to irrigate the surrounding agricultural land in the 1950s but failed to gain traction until 2006.

Yunus (2nd-L) stands with his younger brother (L) as they wait for workers to show them the grave of their younger baby brother who died in 2016, during transfer of the graves to the new Hasankeyf on September 15, 2019

A man prays in the new Hasankeyf cemetery where bodies have been moved to from the old Hasankeyf cemetery on the banks of the Tigris in southeastern Turkey in mid-September

An elderly woman can be seen looking up at the newly built stone wall near the 12,000-year-old city of Hasankeyf in Turkey

The new town will house the old artifacts at a museum and hopes to draw archaeology enthusiasts there.

The dam plans have brought together 86 local and national organisations under the banner of the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive but with the governor's recent comments, it appears their solidarity may have been in vein.

Many countries removed their support for the Ilisu Dam, including the UK back in 2001 and in 2008, numerous European firms withdrew their funding from the controversial project.

Cetin Yildirimer, known as Mazlum, a 28-years-old tourists guide, stands in the middle of the disappered ancient town of Hasankeyf at sunrise, on the banks of the Tigris in southeastern Turkey, on August 19, 2019

Hacire Yalcin (C), 55-years-old walks with her sister and her sister in-law (R) in the middle of old Hasankeyf cemetery as they search for one of their relatives' graves which will be moved to the new Hasankeyf cemetery, on the banks of the Tigris in southeastern Turkey on September 13, 2019

An old woman stands next her son's grave who died in 1997 at the age of 15, in an accident in Hasankeyf, as she waits for workers to remove his body and transport it to a new grave in Hasankeyf

Mehmet Ali (L) and Halil (R) play on the huge concrete construction which is covers the historical Koc mosque (not visible) to protect it from the coming waters, in the centre of Hasankeyf

Workers carry a coffin from the old Hasankeyf cemetery to new one as local people walk behind in the new Hasankeyf cemetery

A worker stands next to a corpse which is being moved to the new Hasankeyf cemetery

A worker reacts as he removes a corpse as a relative watches him at the Hasankeyf cemetery. Residents are being moved from the ancient town to a 'New Hasankeyf' nearby, while historic artefacts have also been transported out of the area

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... aters.html
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Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 am

A 12,000-year-old Turkish city is
about to disappear underwater


    The Turkish government has called for the 12,000-year-old city of Hasankeyf to be evacuated by October 8

    At that point, the government plans to flood the area with water from the Tigris River — part of a hydroelectric dam project

    Eight historic monuments are being moved to a new settlement nearby, but most of the city's ancient caves and tombs will be destroyed

    Residents are moving the bones of their deceased answers before it's too late

The Turkish city of Hasankeyf has been around for roughly 12,000 years, but in a matter of weeks, its ancient caves, churches, and tombs could disappear underwater.

Unlike coastal cities like Jakarta, Indonesia, or New Orleans, Louisiana, Hasankeyf isn't a victim of rising seas. Instead, much of the city is set to be flooded by a dam project that's designed to bring hydroelectric power to the region.

Many of Hasankeyf's residents have already been relocated to a newly constructed town about 2 miles away. The government has also transported monuments like a 12th-century Islamic monastery and a 1,800-ton bath house to a nearby plain. Residents are even moving the bones of their ancestors to the new town.

But many of Hasankeyf's archeological remains will be submerged in water once the dam's reservoir is filled.

Hasankeyf is located in Northern Kurdistan (Southeastern Turkey) along the Tigris River. It has hosted residents for around 12,000 years.

In 2005, the year before construction on the dam started, Hasankeyf was home to around 55,000 people.

The city has been used by many cultures, including ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, the Byzantine army, and multiple centuries of Arab dynasties. Excavations have only scratched the surface of the site's history.

"If you dig here you will find cultures layer upon layer of artefacts from assorted different cultures.

In the 1980s, the Turkish government selected Hasankeyf as the site for the Ilısu Dam, which is designed to bring hydroelectric power to the region.

The dam consists of a 1,200-megawatt hydroelectric power plant and a reservoir with the capacity to hold 11 billion cubic meters of water.

Once the reservoir is full of water, it could flood more than 374,000 acres of land.

The project could destroy hundreds of settlements and thousands of neolithic caves

Critics of the dam say it could harm the environment, ruin cultural sites, and displace local residents


In 2008, a group of European firms that give loans and insurance to governments for international projects determined that the dam would displace nearly 300 settlements and destroy valuable cultural sites. The group also found that construction threatened endangered animal species and would divert water away from the ancient Iraqi marshlands as it is expected to cause water shortages.

The following year, the firms pulled $1.5 billion of funding from the project. So the Turkish government secured loans from local banks instead.

The dam's construction began in 2006, but the project encountered backlash from activist groups.

At the time, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now the Turkish president) said the project would "bring big gains to the local people," including jobs and irrigated farmland.

Turkish authorities have built more than 700 matching new homes (very expensive, identical little boxes) for displaced residents, but not everyone is eligible.

In addition to receiving buyout payments from the government, some residents whose homes are threatened by the dam are eligible to move to "New Hasankeyf," a higher-ground settlement about 2 miles away. Home prices there are steeper, so some locals have chosen to move away to other places where their payments will go further.

Unmarried adults and residents of nearby provinces who might be affected by flooding don't qualify for the government's relocation offer.

Grave diggers have unearthed bones from local tombs.

Residents can ask the Turkish government to relocate their ancestors' bones and graves to a cemetery in New Hasankeyf. About 500 bodies have been moved. In some cases, locals have personally laid the bones of their relatives to rest in the new location.

Satellite images suggest the reservoir started filling up in July.

Activists told Reuters in August that the lake coming from the dam is "growing every day." Some streets are flooded, but residents have little indication of when the water will reach their homes.

Turkey has called for all residents to permanently evacuate the city by October 8.

After that, entrance to the city will be banned. Although only two weeks remain before the evacuation deadline, local activists continue to campaign for an end to the project.

"If we do nothing, we'll have to face our grandchildren's questions," Mehmet Ali Aslan, a protester who once chained himself to the city's cliffs to oppose the dam, told the French news site France 24. "They will ask us what we were doing when Hasankeyf was blown up and abandoned under the water."

https://www.insider.com/turkey-city-to- ... eligible-6
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Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:56 am

A 12,000-year-old Turkish city is
about to disappear underwater


    The Turkish government has called for the 12,000-year-old city of Hasankeyf to be evacuated by October 8

    At that point, the government plans to flood the area with water from the Tigris River — part of a hydroelectric dam project

    Eight historic monuments are being moved to a new settlement nearby, but most of the city's ancient caves and tombs will be destroyed

    Residents are moving the bones of their deceased answers before it's too late
The Turkish city of Hasankeyf has been around for roughly 12,000 years, but in a matter of weeks, its ancient caves, churches, and tombs could disappear underwater.

Unlike coastal cities like Jakarta, Indonesia, or New Orleans, Louisiana, Hasankeyf isn't a victim of rising seas. Instead, much of the city is set to be flooded by a dam project that's designed to bring hydroelectric power to the region.

Many of Hasankeyf's residents have already been relocated to a newly constructed town about 2 miles away. The government has also transported monuments like a 12th-century Islamic monastery and a 1,800-ton bath house to a nearby plain. Residents are even moving the bones of their ancestors to the new town.

But many of Hasankeyf's archaeological remains will be submerged in water once the dam's reservoir is filled.

Hasankeyf is located in Northern Kurdistan (Southeastern Turkey) along the Tigris River. It has hosted residents for around 12,000 years.

In 2005, the year before construction on the dam started, Hasankeyf was home to around 55,000 people.

The city has been used by many cultures, including ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, the Byzantine army, and multiple centuries of Arab dynasties. Excavations have only scratched the surface of the site's history.

"If you dig here you will find cultures layer upon layer of artefacts from assorted different cultures.

In the 1980s, the Turkish government selected Hasankeyf as the site for the Ilısu Dam, which is designed to bring hydroelectric power to the region.

The dam consists of a 1,200-megawatt hydroelectric power plant and a reservoir with the capacity to hold 11 billion cubic meters of water.

Once the reservoir is full of water, it could flood more than 374,000 acres of land.

The project could destroy hundreds of settlements and thousands of neolithic caves

Critics of the dam say it could harm the environment, ruin cultural sites, and displace local residents


In 2008, a group of European firms that give loans and insurance to governments for international projects determined that the dam would displace nearly 300 settlements and destroy valuable cultural sites. The group also found that construction threatened endangered animal species and would divert water away from the ancient Iraqi marshlands as it is expected to cause water shortages.

The following year, the firms pulled $1.5 billion of funding from the project. So the Turkish government secured loans from local banks instead.

The dam's construction began in 2006, but the project encountered backlash from activist groups.

At the time, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now the Turkish president) said the project would "bring big gains to the local people," including jobs and irrigated farmland.

Turkish authorities have built more than 700 matching new homes (very expensive, identical little boxes) for displaced residents, but not everyone is eligible.

In addition to receiving buyout payments from the government, some residents whose homes are threatened by the dam are eligible to move to "New Hasankeyf," a higher-ground settlement about 2 miles away. Home prices there are steeper, so some locals have chosen to move away to other places where their payments will go further.

Unmarried adults and residents of nearby provinces who might be affected by flooding don't qualify for the government's relocation offer.

Grave diggers have unearthed bones from local tombs.

Residents can ask the Turkish government to relocate their ancestors' bones and graves to a cemetery in New Hasankeyf. About 500 bodies have been moved. In some cases, locals have personally laid the bones of their relatives to rest in the new location.

Satellite images suggest the reservoir started filling up in July.

Activists told Reuters in August that the lake coming from the dam is "growing every day." Some streets are flooded, but residents have little indication of when the water will reach their homes.

Turkey has called for all residents to permanently evacuate the city by October 8.

After that, entrance to the city will be banned. Although only two weeks remain before the evacuation deadline, local activists continue to campaign for an end to the project.

"If we do nothing, we'll have to face our grandchildren's questions," Mehmet Ali Aslan, a protester who once chained himself to the city's cliffs to oppose the dam, told the French news site France 24. "They will ask us what we were doing when Hasankeyf was blown up and abandoned under the water."

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.insider.com/turkey-city-to- ... eligible-6
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Re: Save HASANKEYF see video: Water’s Date of Death

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:23 pm

Waves of destruction

An ancient Kurdish town is bracing itself for 90ft floodwaters

The settlement of Hasankeyf, dating back thousands of years, will soon be lost to history as a hydroelectric power plant begins to fill its reservoir

Located on the banks of the Tigris river and set into the soft limestone walls of the river valley, the Kurdish town of Hasankeyf in Batman is a product of 12,000 years of human history. Famed for being part of Mesopotamia’s cradle of civilisation, the city dates to the Neolithic age and hosts remnants of numerous ancient cultures including Roman, Byzantine, Artukid, Ayyubid, Mongol and Ottoman. Each unique period of settlement is showcased in the town’s infrastructure; an intricate network of hand-carved caves, tombs, mosques, palaces, bridges, and a 330ft citadel proudly overlooking the Tigris.

The town is one of the most archeologically rich sites in modern Turkey and according to campaign group Hasankeyf Matters it remains ‘an extraordinary venue for understanding urban life in the middle centuries of Islamic civilisation – the period during which power shifted gradually from Baghdad and Cairo to Istanbul, Isfahan and Delhi’. Its notable position on the Silk Road meant it was a hub of commercial activity during the middle ages, acting as a staging point from Upper Mesopotamia to Anatolia.

Today, however, Hasankeyf better resembles a construction site than a place of worldly heritage thanks to the ongoing building of the Ilisu dam, a soon-to-be site of hydroelectric power production and mass water storage on the Tigris. Despite protests from residents and those campaigning to protect the cultural value of the town, it will soon be almost entirely submerged by the 45 million m³ Ilisu reservoir.

Ilisu is just one of 22 dams designed to support the 19 power plants that form part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, based in the Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey. Despite huge social and environmental costs, the project was founded on the concept of sustainable development and aims to reduce disparities among nine million people living across nine provinces.

As part of the project’s water resources program, the dams are intended to improve and manage irrigation, hydraulic energy production, forestry and agriculture, urban and rural infrastructure, as well as education and health in the region.

The Ilisu dam is being constructed across the upper Tigris, approximately 50km away from the Syrian and Iraqi borders. The reservoir created by the dam will stretch for 250 miles, inundating almost 200 settlements including Hasankeyf, and displacing up to 78,000 people. Although plans for the dam were first drawn up in 1954, construction did not fully begin until 2009 due to a lengthy period of both national and international protests. Credits provided by Turkish banks eventually set the project in motion ten years ago.

Now, the small, sleepy town of Hasankeyf, home to generations of families, is experiencing early stages of flooding and is being increasingly disturbed by machinery as monuments are relocated to a museum in the new town on the other side of the river. This settlement is known as the ‘new Hasankeyf’ and will feature an archeopark displaying irreplaceable artefacts from the old town, such as the Tomb of Zeynel Bey, as well as housing those who have been displaced.

While the loss of Hasankeyf is widely regarded as an archaeological tragedy, it seems that placing a time limit on the hundreds of historical sites found around the Tigris has initiated a sudden spell of activity. Dr Gül Pulhan, archeologist and coordinator of the SARAT project at the British Institute at Ankara, explains that: ‘The long-planned and contested Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River has provided a great opportunity for archaeologists to explore an unknown and unexplored part of Turkey, namely the Upper Tigris area.’

Pulhan is currently excavating Gre Amer, one of five sites that are still working this season before being eventually closed by the Ilisu project. Due to its position on a natural hill on the east bank of the Garzan tributary of the Tigris, Pulhan explains that it won’t be affected by the dam for at least another year. According to her reports, the name means ‘the mound of Omar’ in Kurdish and has enabled valuable insight into life during the Persian empire. Many objects retrieved from the site are on display in the Batman Museum.

Although Hasankeyf is not the focus of her current work, she took the time to reflect on its significance, claiming that the town ‘is a cultural obsession for the local people of Batman. The word archaeology is nearly synonymous with Hasankeyf. For years, when I tell someone that I am an archaeologist working in Batman they immediately question if I am working at Hasankeyf. When I say no and begin to describe where I was working, I’ve already lost their interest.

‘They don’t really know the history or archaeology of the place, but they associate themselves with it. They spend their weekends by the river eating kebabs, drinking tea or fishing. They have their wedding pictures taken there,’ she continues. ‘Now the whole place is a massive construction zone and in the midst of it are tour buses and bewildered domestic tourists. They don’t even know what they are looking at, the remains of the historic bridge is long-encased with ugly stones and concrete blocks – an effort to preserve it underwater.’

The upper town of Hasankeyf has been inaccessible since 2010 when, according to Pulham, a rock was dislodged and fell to the ground, killing one person. From 8 October, the whole town will be closed off to residents. Café owners and those living along the river edge are preparing themselves with jet skis and other equipment, but it appears they have little hope against the torrents of water due to arrive.

Set to quite literally go down in history, it is now hoped that the town’s reputation will in some way keep it alive. While future generations won’t get to experience Hasankeyf first-hand, Pulhan suggests they will hear of its charm for years to come because, as she puts it, ‘it is the most beautiful testimony of human creativity and the harmony between culture and nature.’

http://geographical.co.uk/people/develo ... -hasankeyf
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the caves to stop the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:21 am

A dam threatens one of the
world’s oldest settlements


IT IS QUITE a sight to behold. The piles of a medieval bridge, each the size of a large building, rise from the waters of the Tigris river. Cliffs riddled with thousands of neolithic caves, some still used as homes or animal sheds, some once used as churches, hover above. Farther up, an ancient citadel, home to Byzantine ruins, an Ayyubid mosque and rows of ancient tombstones, watches over the site from a steep hilltop. Countless other archaeological wonders are assumed to be buried beneath.

Hasankeyf, a town of some 3,000 souls in Turkey’s south-east, has cradled one civilisation after another for 12,000 years, making it one of the longest continuously inhabited places on Earth. In as little as a few months, it will be no more. A hydroelectric dam constructed downstream will soon cut off the Tigris, sending billions of cubic metres of water flooding into the valley. Other than the old citadel, all of Hasankeyf, as well as scores of villages close to the river, will disappear underwater, part of a reservoir stretching for 136km (85 miles). Experts warn the whole project will displace up to 100,000 people. The local governor has given Hasankeyf residents until October 8th to evacuate.

https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/0 ... GvjQzx2oAQ
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the caves to stop the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:33 am

Occupy the caves - Save Hasankeyf

Environmental defenders needed to join in

From the Kaz Mountains to Hasankeyf

Environmental defenders are coming together

Today 28 Sept, 17:00

in Kadıköy to #SaveHasankeyf
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the caves to stop the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:18 pm

Dam-Building Spree Continues
At Steep Ecological Cost


Nearly 90 miles of the historic Tigris River will soon be turned into a vast reservoir as Turkey completes the massive Ilisu Dam. While the government touts the project as a source of carbon-free electricity, it will displace 80,000 people and threaten a host of species

From the vine-draped veranda of Yolgecen Hani, a café in the Turkish town of Hasankeyf, one can still catch the scent of the free-flowing Tigris River below, which courses through the country’s rugged southeast and then the length of Iraq before emptying into the Persian Gulf. The sun-baked mountains, verdant riverbanks, and jagged gorges, which lay at the heart of ancient Mesopotamia, today are home to unique ecosystems rich in endemic flora and fauna :((

Yet, in a matter of months, a massive hydroelectric plant and impoundment dam located about 35 miles downstream will obliterate much of this splendor. The waters that will soon back up behind the Ilisu Dam will transform nearly 90 miles of the Tigris and another 150 miles of its tributaries into a vast reservoir that will submerge nearly 300 villages and settlements, displace an estimated 80,000 people. The drowned settlements will include the pearl of Hasankeyf, whose cultural heritage — ancient churches, caves, and tombs — attests to the presence of some of the first large human communities 10,000 years ago.

The flooding, as well as the surge of water releases downstream, also threatens endangered species such as the Eurasian otter, the marbled duck, and the red-wattled Lapwing, say experts. The dam will further imperil many of the Tigris’ native fish species, already battered by overfishing, industrial pollution, and sewage discharges. And experts say the impacts of the Ilisu Dam will be felt hundreds of miles downstream across large parts of the Tigris-Euphrates Basin, which includes Syria, Iraq, and Iran, exacerbating water shortages that will affect irrigation, biodiversity, fishing, drinking water, and transportation.

    “This is an infrastructure project with a 1950s mindset: big, bigger, as big as possible,” says one conservationist
The Ilisu Dam, due east of Hasankeyf, is a 440-foot-high, mile-wide, prestige mega-project of the Turkish government that has been more than 20 years in the making. At an estimated cost of $2 billion, it is expected to generate as much electricity as a small nuclear reactor; it will produce an estimated 3,800 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to power around 1.3 million homes. The Turkish government has praised the dam project as an abundant source of carbon-free electricity, but scientists and affected residents say the dam will exact a high human and environmental toll.

The generating ability of the dam has an estimated life of 50-60 years

The rockfill dam bears the giant letters “DSI,” the initials of Turkey’s State Hydraulic Works, across its imposing concrete face. The power plant is a centerpiece of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, a massive $32 billion hydropower and irrigation scheme — one of the world’s largest — conceived decades ago to spur Turkey’s development.

The Ilisu Dam is one of the biggest of the project’s 22 dams and 19 power plants. Most of the other hydropower projects have already been built on Turkish rivers, including up and down the storied Euphrates River, which flows roughly parallel to the Tigris before joining it north of Basra, Iraq to form the Shatt Al-Arab River.

The region’s environmentalists say the loss of riverine ecosystems and wildlife will be calamitous. “This dam is a disaster for biodiversity, not just in Turkey but also for ecosystems of the whole Tigris-Euphrates basin,” explains Itri Levent Erkol, conservation manager at the Turkish environmental NGO Doğa Derneği. “The Tigris River Valley has the last pristine riverine and canyon ecosystems in all of southeastern Turkey. There are endangered species there that we know will become extinct once the valley is flooded.”

The ancient city of Hasankeyf in southeast Turkey will soon be flooded by the Ilisu Dam

Scientists from Middle East Technical University, located in Ankara, presented Turkish authorities with alternative plans for smaller, less-intrusive hydropower dams. “The authorities didn’t even respond to it,” says Erkol.

I recently visited the Ilisu Dam site with Ulrich Eichelmann of Riverwatch, a Vienna-based NGO that lobbies to protect international rivers and has been active in the fight against the dam. Standing 100 yards from the dam wall as heavy-duty trucks, cement mixers, and hydraulic shovels plied the river’s banks,

Eichelmann said, “This is an infrastructure project with a 1950s mindset: big, bigger, as big as possible. And this is after all that we’ve learned over the years that these kinds of ridiculously huge dams pay no heed to nature. But the Turkish government has refused to give even a centimeter.”

The power plant is scheduled to begin full-scale operations early next year; water impoundment will start gradually in a few weeks

Erkol and other scientists from Turkey and abroad say the Euphrates soft-shelled turtle is one of the indigenous species on the brink of extinction. The turtles, which grow up to 2.2 feet and can weigh 44 pounds, have been laying their eggs in the river’s reedy sand banks for millennia.

Now that the Euphrates has been carved up by dams and hydropower plants, the rare turtle species exists only in small pockets along the Tigris and is unlikely to survive the deluge that will engulf much of this part of the Tigris Valley, according to Erkol.

For nearly two decades, Turkish and international conservationists and scientists have fought the Ilisu Dam

As for birds, in addition to the lapwing, whose shrill alarm calls carry across the river, the lesser kestrel is a globally threatened species that will lose its habitat in the river’s grasslands. For centuries, the high cliffs that soar above the Tigris at Hasankeyf have hosted Bonelli’s eagles, Egyptian vultures, and griffon vultures.

The non-stop construction in and around Hasankeyf — which includes cementing over embankments and thousands of ancient caves, including the craggy nesting places of these birds of prey — has already driven most of them away.

DSI’s years-long preparations for the start of Ilisu’s hydropower operations has also exacted other costs on the Tigris’s ecosystem. For several years now, the power plant’s construction has blocked the journey of fish that swim upstream to spawn.

The river once boasted dozens of species, including the ray-finned mangar, which could weigh more than 220 pounds. The leopard barbel, named for its black spots and found only in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin, is already on the brink of extinction. The damming, say experts, will cut the number of fish species in half.

“I don’t even bother [fishing] anymore,” says Abdullah Kandemir, whose father was also a fisherman. “We used to be able to fill our nets and sell fish to the restaurants here. Now one can work all day and not get more than two, maybe three, pounds [of fish],” he says, noting that damming of the Tigris upstream of Hasankeyf in the 1990s had already reduced its water level and depleted fish stocks.

“Very soon we’re going to lose everything,” says Ahmet Sevinc, a young man who works in the handful of local restaurants still open. “It’s a disaster for us. We made our livings from tourism,” he says, gesturing to the town’s melancholy main street, now filled with the detritus of shuttered shops and abandoned snack bars.

For nearly two decades, Turkish and international conservationists, scientists, and activists — including Turkish Nobel Prize laureate author Orhan Pamuk, and ME — have fought the construction of the Ilisu Dam. All but one European firm – the Austrian turbine manufacturer Andritz — withdrew from the project, and foreign governments pressed Turkey’s authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to do the same. In Turkish Kurdistan, where Ilisu is located, politicians vigorously opposed the project. But all to no avail.

“We failed, it’s as simple as that,” says Erkut Erturk, a Turkish environmentalist who has worked on the anti-Ilisu movement for years. Opponents did manage to rescue some of Hasankeyf’s choicest archeological and architectural treasures. The village’s mosque, with its 600-year-old minaret, as well as a small Islamic monastery and a travelers’ inn, or han, have been relocated to the other side of the Tigris.

The government also agreed to build New Hasankeyf from the arid hardscrabble north of the river. The settlement of 710 identical cement houses lies in the mountain’s foothills, where the town’s 2,000 residents can relocate — if their savings and compensation for their original property is enough to buy one of the homes. Turkish authorities also have excavated the graves and reburied the deceased ancestors of the people of Hasankeyf and other settlements along the river.

Not all of the region’s people oppose the dam, according to Erturk. “Many Turks say that their country wants to develop, just like the European countries did,” says Erturk. “They consider it hypocritical that Europeans tell Turkey not to build dams when they’ve been doing it for decades.”

The government also reminds the dam’s Western opponents that Ilisu will generate large amounts of renewable energy, in keeping with the country’s pledge in the 2015 Paris climate treaty.

“Turkey has to import oil, natural gas, and even coal to meet its energy needs,” the DSI website says. “The EU places great emphasis on green power in energy policies… Consequently, the weight of hydroelectric power in overall generation needs to be increased.”

But dam opponents argue that the Turkish government has stubbornly forged ahead with large-scale hydropower projects, ignoring the huge renewable energy potential of southeastern Turkey. Ridvan Ayhan, a local administrator in the nearby city of Batman, the heavily Kurdish region’s administrative capital, contends that Turkey’s abundant sunlight, its wide-open steppes, and its windy plains are ideal for wind and solar power installations. “It’s cheaper and cleaner,” he says, pointing to studies that show this. “The government just isn’t pushing these renewables like it does hydro and coal.”

One such study concludes that Turkey could triple its current wind and solar capacity by 2026, which would satisfy 31 percent of the country’s electricity demand. Currently, wind and solar generation represent 7 percent of Turkey’s total electricity output.

As other types of renewable power generation become cheaper and more widespread, hydropower projects globally are coming under increasing scrutiny. Yet, for Turkey, its hydro dams are more than just sources of energy and revenue — they’re also potent levers of geopolitical pressure.

The Tigris and the Euphrates cut through Syria and Iraq all the way to the Persian Gulf. Thousands of downstream communities in these countries rely on the rivers for irrigation, drinking water, power generation, and transportation. In both Syria and Iraq, water demand along the rivers already outpaces supply.

Over decades, Turkey’s power and irrigation projects have reduced flows in the Euphrates, polluted its waters, and dried out wetlands to the south. Iraq claims that Turkey’s dams and hydropower plants have reduced water to Iraq by 80 percent. In its southernmost regions, I

raq is currently losing around 61,000 acres of arable land a year to desertification, according to the UN Environment Program. The shortages and poor water quality in Iraq have sparked protests. In Baghdad, water levels on the Tigris were so low that locals could wade across it.

The Mesopotamian Marshes, located mainly in southern Iraq and home to myriad migratory and endemic species of birds and mammals, were once the largest wetland habitat in the Middle East. While the marshes bounced back after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein drained them in the 1980s and 90s to punish the opposition Marsh Arabs, the Turkish dams have put them under threat again.

“The marshes are a critical stopover in the migrations of many waterfowl en route to northern Africa,” says Eichelmann of Riverwatch. In the winter of 2018, the marshes experienced a 74 percent decline in bird populations, a consequence largely of Turkey’s dams, compounded by climate change and decades of Iraqi water mismanagement, says Eichelmann.

But in a political context in which water is power, Turkey is not budging on its perogative to dam “its rivers.”

“Turkey takes a very outdated approach with regard to its international water-resource policies,” says Nicolas Bremer, a German lawyer and author of a book on Turkey’s dams, explaining that most countries and international law envision collective approaches to shared water resources. “Turkey sees itself as completely sovereign in the management of its rivers and basically does whatever it wants, in terms of damming and discharging pollution. Turkey refuses to be bound by the international treaties and laws that exist.”

Link to Article - Photos:

https://e360.yale.edu/features/turkeys- ... gical-cost
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the caves to stop the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:31 pm

Ancient village that's stood for
12,000 years to be destroyed by dam


Image

This beautiful town in Northern Kurdistan (Turkey) will not exist soon

The ancient Silk Road trading post of Hasankeyf will disappear after being purposely submerged with water from the nearby Ilisu Dam.

The location is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years.

The government is intentionally increasing the river by 60 metres in the next few months as part of Turkey’s South-eastern Anatolia Project (GAP), designed to improve its poorest and least developed region.

The project may mean the area gets better long term but it has come as bad news for the 3,000 residents who live in Hasankeyf.

They have all been given until October 8 to leave.


The only way to STOP the flooding is to

    OCCUPY the CAVES
Shopkeeper Arif Ayhan, whose parents once lived in caves in the town, told the Los Angeles Times: ‘I don’t want to leave here. I will protest, but what can we do? We cannot stay when the water comes.

‘This is our home and it will be destroyed along with our history, heritage and culture.’

Another shopkeeper Mehmet Ali was unhappy the area had failed to be recognised as a protected World Heritage Site and wanted the global community to do more to help prevent the flooding.

In 2006 the Turkish government officially began work on the Ilisu Dam dam across the Tigris River, which will lead to the submerging of an estimated 80% of Hasankeyf.

Ilisu – the fourth biggest dam in Turkey – and the Hydra Electric Power Plant will help fulfil the country’s energy needs and provide irrigation to the agricultural lands surrounding it.

Once activated, the power plant will generate 3,800 gigawatts hours of electricity annually.

The project will affect approximately 300 settlements in the area and push thousands of people out of their homes and away from their livelihoods.

The government has built a new town with 710 houses for the Hasankeyf residents three kilometres away from the ancient town. Sadly, many of the former inhabitants are unable to afford the cost of the new accommodation.

So far eight monuments have also been relocated to safer ground near the new settlement but the rest of the city, with all its rich history, will be inundated.

Only the citadel will still be visible above the water.

Link to Article - Photos:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/04/ancient- ... -10863150/
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the CAVES to STOP the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:47 pm

    Occupy the Caves - Save Hasankeyf
History threatened as Turkey
prepares to flood ancient city


The rumble of heavy machinery is a background cacophony as the call to prayer rings out over this ancient town on the banks of the River Tigris in southeast Turkey

The crash of rocks being shifted to prepare for the filling of a hydroelectric dam - that will see the town submerged - reminds residents that they face eviction in the coming days.

The preparation work, which coats the 12,000-year-old settlement in dust, has neared completion and locals now face the uncertainty of not knowing exactly when they will be forced from homes and businesses that have been in their families for generations.

"Everybody is traumatised by this," said Bulent Basaran, 50, from his restaurant overlooking the river. "We feel like we're in a coma. I don't see any light, just negative things and problems."

For years, the people of Hasankeyf have lived with the threat of their town being swallowed by waters behind the $1.3bn Ilisu dam, which lies 75km (47 miles) downstream.

Although they were given until Tuesday, October 8 to leave, the town's market and streets showed little sign of an impending evacuation over the past few days, despite a lack of customers at the stalls and shops selling local rugs and crafts.

"There's no date to leave now," Basaran said. "I guess it will be at the end of the tourist season next month. The district governor has threatened to cut off the electricity and water if we don't leave in a month."

Hasankeyf is one of the world's oldest settlements and has been the centre of numerous cultures and empires since the Bronze Age, including the Assyrians, Romans, the Ummayad and Abbasid caliphates, and the Turkic Seljuks and their Ottoman successors.

An ancient citadel, once an important Mesopotamian stopover on the Silk Road, overlooks the town and its limestone cliffs are dotted with thousands of man-made Neolithic caves.

"For us, the flooding of Hasankeyf is like the destruction of Palmyra by the Islamic State and the Buddha statues by the Taliban," said Ercan Ayboga, from the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, referring to Syria's ancient ruins and the Bamyan monuments in Afghanistan.

Since its foundation in 2006, the initiative has led the campaign against flooding Hasankeyf and the surrounding region - organising protests and lobbying politicians in Turkey and Europe.

The group has campaigned for UNESCO World Heritage status for the site but, although Hasankeyf fulfils nine of the 10 criteria, the Turkish government did not apply for that protection. A bid at the European Court of Human Rights also failed with the court ruling it did not have jurisdiction.

With the impending flooding, residents are being told they will be moved across the river to a new town of identikit houses.

Many of the town's 3,000 inhabitants, most of whom rely on tourism for a living, have moved to the new settlement as a resigned mood takes over. Others are waiting until the last minute before leaving.

Ayboga said the town's population had been "misled on purpose" by the authorities over claims of renewed prosperity with the coming of the dam, which will displace 15,000 people from 199 towns and villages as the Tigris rises by 60 metres.

The government did not respond to emailed questions but two months ago Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, whose department is supervising the project, said New Hasankeyf would have better services, larger homes and a revitalised tourism industry. He added that 500 million lire ($87.8m) had been allocated for resettlement.

Ankara has long maintained the Southeastern Anatolia Project, of which the 3,800 gigawatt-a-year dam is a part, will improve life in Turkey's poorest and least developed region.

The construction of a reservoir embankment along the cliffs facing the Tigris had seen many businesses relocate from the riverside into the town in recent years, they will now have to move again.

'Forced out'

Osman Turan, 69, runs the Konak restaurant with two partners. They have been forced to move twice in the last decade because of the dam.

"This will be the third time I have been forced out of my business," he said. "We haven't been provided with a business in the new town. What can I do?

"We can't stop the dam but they should give us a future. I've done this work for many years. I just want to carry on."

Co-owner Ali Aslankilic, 43, is one of those who have not been offered one of the new town's 710 homes.

"I haven't been given a new home because I'm not married," he said. "When this is gone, I will do nothing. I used to have two stores in the old bazaar for 25 years. I was doing the same crafts that my grandfather taught me."

He added: "I just want them to give me my life back. I don't want to be a refugee in my own country, being forced away from my family's home."

Treasure trove of history

For centuries, the residents of Hasankeyf have lived among a treasure trove of archaeological remains.

As well as 5,500 caves that dot the cliffs, the town was home to the 15th-century mausoleum of Zeynel Bey, the son of a Turkic ruler killed in battle. The 17-metre-tall tomb, with its intricate blue tiled exterior, is a striking example of Anatolian architecture.

The cliff-top remains of a 4th-century Roman fortress, a 900-year-old Seljuk palace and the El Rizk mosque, built in 1409 by Ayyubid Sultan Suleyman, are some of the other outstanding monuments.

Father-of-three Mahmut Yildirimer's family is one of 250 families - about half of Hasankeyf's population - to have moved to the new town.

Sitting in his back garden - barren apart from a few recently planted shrubs, a chicken coop and a breeze-block shed for his prized pigeons - the unemployed 33-year-old said the new home cost 150,000 lire ($26,300) but he would not have to begin paying the instalments for five years.

New home owner Mahmut Yildirimer

Despite such seemingly preferential terms, he said the house, which his family moved into shortly after completion less than a month ago, was already showing cracks in its walls that he blamed on nearby dynamiting to provide rocks for the dam's embankment.

"Also the water was cut off for a week recently and sometimes it's more," he added. "My children's school is very far away and they have to walk half an hour to get there."

Each applicant for a home in the new town faced a wait of more than a year before finding out if they had been successful, with many refused a place because they did not fulfil criteria such as being married.

Some who moved away briefly for seasonal work found they were excluded by not being continuous residents during a specific period.

The authorities, however, have provided trucks to help transport household goods to the new houses.

The new town boasts a museum sitting among eight relocated archaeological structures, including a 15th-century minaret and the Zeynel Bey tomb that were reassembled piece-by-piece or transported intact.

Other sites, such as a pre-historic underground city where the townspeople would shelter in times of war, have been concreted over to protect them from the water.

Gazing across at the new town, Mehmet Tilki, 66, the last resident of the caves on the south side of the Tigris, where he has lived with his dog, cat and chickens since retiring as a local public servant.

"If they let me, I will stay here," he said between mouthfuls of watermelon harvested from his small garden. "This place belonged to my grandfathers in the Ottoman times so now it is mine."

He appeared relaxed about the fate of the town. "No one knows the exact history of this place so what is happening is bad for the world, not just Hasankeyf," he said. "But maybe the dam will bring jobs and stop people going to Europe or Istanbul to find work."

However, Suleyman Agalday, who runs a small open-air cafe below Tilki's cave, was less sanguine.

"My family has been here for countless generations and I can't begin to explain what this place means to me," he said. "Moving from here is like God taking Adam from the Garden of Eden and putting him in the world, although we didn't even eat the apple.

"I will be the last one to leave Hasankeyf. I will be here until the end. I have a family and life has to continue but wherever I am in the world, my heart will be here. This is where we come from and this is our land, we belong here."

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/ ... 10635.html
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the CAVES to STOP the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:58 pm

Residents scramble to move
before dam waters rise


In the ancient Turkish town of Hasankeyf, the Ozturk family are selling all the livestock that was their livelihood as they prepare to uproot to government-built housing across the Tigris River before the waters rise

They are among around 3,000 residents of the town who are being forced to leave by an Oct. 8 deadline to make way for the Ilisu Dam, a project two decades in the making that will generate electricity for southeast Turkey.

Standing in the entrance of her house, where the family’s belongings have been piled up for the move, Sabahat Ozturk, 39, said their new apartment is not ready but they will try to move out as soon as possible.

Like many others in Hasankeyf, which dates back 12,000 years, the Ozturks have been dependent on livestock farming and worry about how they will make a living in their new home.

“They took our place from us, and are forcing us to sell our herd (of sheep),” Sabahat’s father-in-law, 85-year-old Kerem Ozturk, said of the central government. “We could take care of our animals here, we were able to make ends meet. Now we have to sell them.”

Not all of Hasankeyf’s residents will have moved out by Tuesday’s deadline and authorities will need to extend it, residents and activists say, further delaying the project that has faced numerous setbacks since it was launched more than 20 years ago.

In July, Turkey finally started to fill the dam further downstream on the Tigris where villages have already been vacated and are now partially submerged. Water is expected to start rising in Hasankeyf, located in the southeastern province of Batman, in the next few months.

The Ilisu Dam, expected to be operational for 50 years, will generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity, making it Turkey’s fourth-largest dam in terms of energy production. But it has been criticized by activists who say the dam, once completely filled, will have displaced 78,000 people from 199 surrounding villages and risks creating water shortages downstream in Iraq.

Hasankeyf was used by the Romans as a fortress town to ward off Persians. The town was later destroyed by Mongols and rebuilt in the 11th century by Seljuk Turks.

The Ozturks’ home is perched on a ledge on a cliffside. It has a clear view of works to construct a wall below the ancient Hasankeyf fortress, which dates back to the 4th century BC.

Below their home, archaeologists are working on a digging site, while above the wall, lie caves where people used to live.

NEW TOWN

The Ozturk family have been allocated an apartment in Yeni Hasankeyf - or New Hasankeyf - across the river from the old town where a hospital, an elementary school and government buildings are already up and running. Parks and playgrounds for children have also been built and trees planted.

In a bid to attract tourists to the area, eight historic structures, including a massive tomb, an ancient Turkish bath, a historic mosque and its minaret, have been moved from the old town to Yeni Hasankeyf.

The head of the Hasankeyf Cultural Foundation, Ahmet Akdeniz - or Ahmet the Shepherd as he is known to locals - has moved into a house in Yeni Hasankeyf but remembers living in the caves as a child, sitting by a fireplace to eat and warm up, before people started moving to homes in the old town in the 1970s.

Akdeniz, 52, supports the Yeni Hasankeyf project and believes it will increase tourism in the area.

But while the houses look pristine from the outside, they were made with low-quality building materials and residents have issues with the water supply, he said.

“Water is leaking everywhere except from the tap!” he says.

LONE RESIDENT

Some people who have already moved to Yeni Hasankeyf have built coops outside their apartment buildings for their chickens, although the town is mostly empty and still under construction.

“What are we going to do without a job?” says Cemil Yavanas, 57, as he carries disassembled wardrobes out of his house in Hasankeyf old town. He makes a living selling vegetables but will have no land once he moves to the new town.

Further down the Tigris River the village of Celikkoy, located 15 km (9.3 miles) north of the dam in the southeastern province of Mardin, is almost fully submerged by the rising waters.

The government started filling the dam in July without notifying anyone in advance, said Mehmet Selim Acar, 65, who has remained in Celikkoy, moving into a dilapidated former gendarmerie command post without electricity on a hill above the village.

The other residents have all left, but Acar, who also has an apartment in Batman, wanted to stay because his ancestors lived in the village. Since he retired from his job at a government office, he has made a living from agriculture.

“I had one ton of pomegranates, pears, 5-6 tonnes of grapes. I had to leave them,” he said, recalling when his old home was flooded. “There was nowhere I could go to to file a complaint.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turk ... SKBN1WM1LQ
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the CAVES to STOP the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:32 am

A farewell:
My last visit in Hasankeyf


From September 10th to 13th I visited Hasankeyf in Turkey and the Tigris for the very last time. I said my goodbyes to residents, the river, the landscape. One of the most significant regions of humanity will be submerged, in the reservoir of the Ilisu dam

Even today, two weeks later, I can barely bring myself to put this into writing. It is literally incomprehensible. Incomprehensible, that something like this can happen in the 21st century, despite all our knowledge, international ties, global attention. I’ve been committed to nature conservation for 30 years, saw a lot of destruction, but nothing has ever gotten as much under my skin as what is happening in Mesopotamia right now.

As I stand in front of the Ilisu dam, 136-meter-high and 1.8-kilometers-wide, journalists want to know what I feel. A mixture of sadness, frustration and anger. Anger at all those who participate in this project, at the Turkish government, the construction companies like the Austrian Andritz as well as at those who have simply kept quiet. And then the nagging doubt whether I, or we, really did everything in our power to prevent this insanity. What could we have done better?

Between 2006 and 2011 I coordinated the international campaign “Stop Ilisu”. First at WWF Austria, from 2007 onwards for the NGO ECA Watch and for the Manfred-Hermsen Foundation (MHS) in Bremen. Without the MHS, the campaign would not have been possible. The Foundation supported “Stop Ilisu” even in times when many others had already turned away. Together with NGOs from Switzerland (Public Eye), from Germany (Gegenströmung), from Turkey (Doga Dernegi and Hasankeyf Girisimi) and many activists, we tried to save Hasankeyf and the Tigris.

In 2009, everything was looking bright as Germany, Austria and Switzerland cancelled their export credit guarantees and withdrew from the project. European companies and banks involved in the project followed their example. With one exception: the Austrian company Andritz AG stuck with the project.

However, after a brief pause of shock, Turkish president Erdogan continued with the construction. The impoundment of the valley started a few weeks ago.

Upon arriving in Hasankeyf together with some journalists on the evening of September 10th, everything seems the same at first. Business as usual. Men sit by the tea shops and drink Cay. Tourists stroll through the market and trucks blast across the bridge over the Tigris. But on the next morning, the extent of destruction becomes clearly visible.

The almost 1,000-year-old bridge pillars had been encased, Hasankeyf's famous cliff and the canyons with its the hundreds of caves have disappeared behind a huge rampart.

Today, many houses are empty in the village – I don’t know where its residents went. Some ancient buildings, such as the two minarets, were moved to the archeology park in New Hasankeyf. Other areas of the city have disappeared under a sarcophagus, under a concrete casing. Trucks are omnipresent, tearing down houses, dumping earth and stones elsewhere. A massive construction site.

In the beginning, I can’t really grasp the scale. I feel strangely distant. I walk through Hasankeyf, recognize residents here and there, hugs, small talk, good food in restaurants, beers in the evening with the journalists.

But in the next few days it is really getting to me. Especially when we drive to Ilisu, to the dam, in the ARD car on September 12th. All Upper Mesopotamia is put upside down. New roads, bridges, military posts, etc. as far as the eye can see. An orgy in concrete and asphalt. As we eventually stand at the dam wall, higher than the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, another consequence of Ilisu becomes painfully evident: only a trickle comes out of the dam, the rest of the Tigris water is held back by the dam wall.

It will take between half a year and a whole year for the reservoir to fill up to its final size, depending on how much water the Tigris will carry. A total of 1,400 km of rivers will be destroyed, 400 km of which will be impounded (Tigris and tributaries). 1,000 km downstream, the Mesopotamian marshes in southern Iraq – the cradle of civilization – will dry up, as Ilisu holds back floods, especially in spring.

These flood waters are vital to the marshes. Nobody knows how many animal species will go extinct, because no biological survey, no Environmental Impact Assessment, has ever been conducted for the Ilisu project. However, the Leopard Barbel and the Euphrates softshell turtle are likely to become extinct, and with them many others.

About 60,000 people are losing their homes, 300 villages and settlements are to be drowned. New settlements are being built, but not everyone will be able to afford to live there. Many will end up in the slums of Diyarbakir or try to emigrate.

Even those who can afford moving to New Hasankeyf will be faced with a very different life, one without the familiar social community, without neighbors, friends, relatives. Moreover, the soil is barren and stony, hardly anything grows in New Hasankeyf.

On Thursday evening I walk through Hasankeyf for the very last time, say goodbye to Ömer and many others in the village. Then, from the bridge, I say my farewells to the Tigris. After 12,000 years of history, everything is being destroyed – in the name of an allegedly renewable and clean form of energy. I feel like crying and throwing up at the same time.

On Friday, the 13th of September, I fly back to Vienna. The following weekend I spend at home, I fall sick. To this day, I wasn’t able to digest my feelings of despair. We gave a lot in the campaign, but evidently not enough. We have lost. But not only us, who were actively fighting against the Ilisu project, but everyone has lost. For Hasankeyf and Mesopotamia mean to cultural history of the world what the Amazon rainforest means to the ecology of our planet. It is a world heritage; it belongs to all people. At least, it used to belong.

On October 8th, the market street in Hasankeyf will be leveled to the ground, houses will be torn down and the bridge over the Tigris will be closed. And then, the waiting for the water begins. We are losing the world.

Is it possible to learn something from the Ilisu case? Even with some distance and the experience of 30 years of professional work in nature conservation, I find it difficult. But one thing is clearer than ever to me: We should and we must be angrier and act more intensely against those who destroy our world. How dare you!

Ulrich Eichelmann am 6. Oktober 2019

Link to Article - Photos

https://riverwatch.eu/en/general/news/f ... 7KMZC7Hs_U
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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the CAVES to STOP the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:02 am

    HEARTBREAKING

20 years ago I was involved with the original campaign to prevent th building of the dam

On Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 2:20 pm I started seeking support for Hasankeyf on this forum

20 years ago, we were under the impression that it was against Internation Law for one country to stop the water-flow into another country further downstream

How is it that the International community is allowing Turkey to limit the water-flow into Iraq, destroying the ancient Mesopotamian (Iraqi) Marshes and all the countless flora and fauna within those marshes.

What will happen to the Marsh Arabs???

Plus the drying up and destruction of fertile farm lands along the river.

Since 2016 the Mesopotamian Marshes are listed as an UNESCO Heritage Site, surely that means it should be protected from Turkey limited the water-flow.

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Re: HASANKEYF occupy the CAVES to STOP the flooding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:58 am

Save the Tigris Campaign

Water Must Not be Used as a Weapon of War: Refrain from Civilian and Environmental Harm in Northeast Syria!

For more than 20 years, The Save Hasankeyf Campaign has been pointing out the danger of Turkish dams controlling water-flow into other countries

Statement by Save the Tigris Campaign, 12 October 2019:

On 9 October, Turkey started a military offensive in northeast Syria. A move which will have disastrous consequences for the region. This armed conflict will have a direct impact on populations, ecosystem and post-conflict recovery of the area. Concerns mount of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Water is at risk of being used as a weapon in this conflict: The first reports have appeared of the targeting of water infrastructure: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported on 10 October that Bouzra Dam, providing water to the city of Derik, was targeted by Turkish warplanes. Other reports confirmed damages to civilian installations: water supplies to Hasakeh city have been interrupted due to damage of Alok water station, which serves 400,000 people in the area, according to OCHA.

Politicization of water in northeast Syria has been ongoing since the start of the Syrian conflict. This was evidenced in the past years by the deliberate disruption of water flows from transboundary rivers originating in Turkey.

In past summers water flows to Syria were cut on various occasions, while the opening of Turkish dams caused the flooding of agricultural lands in Girê Spî and other areas as recently as last month. In addition, the GAP project in Southeastern Turkey, which includes Ilisu Dam and other dams to be-constructed on the Tigris River, would curb water flows into Syria and Iraq by as much as half.

The targeting of rivers and destruction of water installations, whether dams, desalinisation plants, sewage or other infrastructure, can cause a humanitarian crisis in health and sanitation across the region. Due to years of conflict, much of the water infrastructure in Syria has been lost or not maintained.

If dams are targeted there is a major risk of flooding, as was demonstrated in 2017: Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River was part of a major assault between the SDF and Daesh, which damaged its power station. There was a serious possibility of dam failure, which lead to emigration of populations from the area at risk.

The environment is both a risk factor and a victim of the spiralling conflict in northeast Syria. Human security depends on environmental security. In December 2017 the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a resolution on conflict pollution, urging states to minimise the health and environmental impacts of pollution caused by armed conflict. The resolution addressed the targeting of water, sanitation networks, and the polluting of rivers with the aim to reduce humanitarian and environmental impacts of conflict pollution.

The legacy of the Syrian conflict has resulted in environmental degradation across northeast Syria. Its communities have suffered from the toxic remnants of war and increased water pollution. In the aftermath of the war with Daesh some areas suffered from contaminated drinking water. Due to the longstanding conflict, the lack of waste management fuelled the flow of wastewater directly into rivers without treatment. Affected rivers include the Khabur River (Hasakeh city) and Jaghjagh River (Qamishlo city), tributaries of the Euphrates River.

Yet despite years of conflict, in northeast Syria a society is being built on democratic ecological principles. The environment is being reconstructed following decades of exploitation and war and issues such as water scarcity, desertification and other ecological problems are being addressed.

The Democratic Federation of North and East Syria recognized environmental security to be critical for a post-conflict society and invested in reforestation, waste management systems, water conservation and the strengthening of environmental consciousness. Land that was exhausted by war and monoculture was revitalized for communal use through ancient cultivation techniques of the Tigris and Euphrates civilizations. Schools in northeast Syria have been teaching ecology as a fundamental principle.

These gains are now under threat because of military destruction.

We call upon Turkey:

    - To immediately halt the invasion of northeast Syria;

    - Not to use water and water infrastructure as weapons of war and to refrain from targeting water installations or waterways;

    - To guarantee safe access to water as a fundamental human right which should be guaranteed for the population of Western Kurdistan, northeast Syria;

    - To adhere to the UNEA-3 resolution ‘Pollution mitigation and control in areas affected by armed conflict or terrorism’ of the United Nations Environment Assembly.
We call upon the international community:

    - To use all diplomatic means to pressure Turkey to halt its invasion of North East Syria;

    - To monitor the conditions of northeast Syria’s rivers and water infrastructure in order to document any damages or war crimes;

    - To hold accountable any party which inflicts humanitarian crises due to the targeting of waterways and water infrastructure through the UNEA-3 resolution ‘Pollution mitigation and control in areas affected by armed conflict or terrorism’ of the United Nations Environment Assembly.
For more information please contact coordinator.en @ savethetigris.org
Visit our page: https://www.savethetigris.org/water-mus ... used-as-a-…/
savethetigris.org

Water Must Not be Used as a Weapon of War
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