Turkish Dam Project Raises Resettlement Concerns
A hydroelectric dam planned in southeastern Turkey could force up to 78,000 people from their homes, according to a report by a World Bank resettlement expert.
Dr. Ayse Kudat reports that the Ilisu dam, which is being planned for the Tigris River 40 miles upstream of the Syrian and Iraqi border, could displace more people than the 25,000 originally estimated by the Turkish government.
The project was commissioned by a consortium of export credit agencies that are considering financing the project. The governments of Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the United States are all currently considering extending export credits or guarantees of about $850 million for the project.
Critics of the dam say it may cut off half the flow of the Tigris into Syria and Iraq, aggravating an already tense regional struggle over water.
Kudat's report says that the project's proposed resettlement plan would violate World Bank policy and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines.
The dam would submerge the 10,000-year-old city of Hasankeyf and at least 68 other towns and villages, displace many thousands of mostly Kurdish people, and destroy ancient cultural treasures.
Ilisu is at present the largest dam project in Turkey. More information is available at: http://www.hasankeyf.org/eng/links.htm.
(Source: Environment News Service)