Water Stories Part I, Hasankeyf
The town of Hasankeyf is situated along the Tigris River in Turkey 65 km. upstream from the Syria and Iraq borders. Packed with archaeology and a mixed population of Kurds and Arabs the towns human roots extend back 10.000 years uninterrupted. The Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Project is a key part of a large scale regional development project, the South-eastern Anatolia Project (GAP), in the Kurdish southeast of Turkey. As one of 19 dams Ilisu Dam’s intended location is on the Tigris River. Around 1997 the Turkish government started the first attempt to implement this project. But in 2002, after a campaign by affected people and many civil organizations in Europe, the foreign companies and financers dropped out of the project due to its potentially disastrous consequences on population, ecology, culture and international relations, and so the project stopped. Regardless in 2004 the Turkish government established the new Ilisu consortium of Turkish, Austrian, German and Swiss companies. Inspite of the wide protests in Turkey and Europe, the Turkish government and the companies continued to go on with the project and in March 2007 German, Austrian, and Swiss government approved the crucial export credit guarantees for the Ilisu project despite the infamous project’s virtually unchanged situation. This decision is connected it with 153 conditions which Turkey doesnt fulfil since that. The Tigris valley is very important for the flora and fauna of the whole region with its canyons and forests. The dam reservoir would threaten many plants and animals. Because of many urban areas and developing irrigation upstream of the reservoir an eutrophication will occur. The planned waste water treatment plants will be not enough good and widespread to prevent this. It will be very difficult to overcome a possible eutrophication. The first impact will be lost of almost all fish and other aquatic species. The contaminated water will be a big health danger for the population as it happened around the dam reservoirs on the Euphrates Rivers which is is already completely impounded. Also a change of local climate is expected due to the higher humidity. This will threaten further terrestrial species in the valley and support the deforestation, like it was the case with dams on the Euphrates River.