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: Controversial Ilisu Dam on Hasankeyf halted by Turkish court (
PR Doga Dernegi)
Doga Dernegi (BirdLife Turkey), 10 January 2013, Istanbul - The
Turkish State Council ruled on January 7 in favour of the legal
case filed by the Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) against
the construction of the Ilisu dam project, ordering an immediate
halt to the controversial dam construction in southeast Turkey.
of State concluded that the Ilisu dam construction on the Tigris
River, proceeding without the legally required Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA), goes against Turkish Environment law and EIA regulations.
dam being constructed on the Tigris River has drawn international
controversy because it will flood the ancient city of Hasankeyf
whose history stretches back over 12,000 years. It is an area that
meets nine out of 10 UNESCO criteria for World Heritage status,
but the government is refusing to nominate the site and guarantee
its protection because it would stand in the way of plans for the
project outline was finalised in the 1980s but it prompted strong
reaction from local communities, environmental, cultural heritage
and human rights groups as well as academics and celebrities in
Turkey and abroad. In 2009, three European Credit Agencies withdrew
from the project due to the Turkish governments failure to
meet international standards to protect nature, culture and the
rights of over 25,000 people who would be displaced.
This is the
second time the government lost a case on the Ilisu dam before the
State Council. In 2011 the State Council had already ruled against
governments attempt to bypass EIA regulations. Then, the Turkish
government introduced new regulation exonerating the project from
the required EIA in an attempt to override the ruling. The Office
of the Prime Minister had also published a circular order allowing
all works related to the infrastructure of the dam including roads,
power lines etc. to go ahead without any EIA.
the Turkish governments actions again last year by bringing
the case before the State Council a second time. The Councils
recent ruling against the government brings hope to the local communities
and NGOs that have been trying to stop the ongoing dam construction.
can object to the State Councils ruling within seven days.
Alternatively, the government may again choose to pass new legislation
to override the courts ruling.
evident from the actions of government that the Ilisu dam could
never be built if the law were observed. The Turkish government
has instead been choosing to bypass conservation laws by passing
new regulations designed to allow the dams construction at
whatever cost, said Engin Yilmaz, Executive Director of Doga
Dernegi (BirdLife Turkey). This time the world is watching.
The ruling must stand, in the interest of protecting our common
natural and cultural heritage. The project must be cancelled, and
the region designated as a World Heritage Site, he said.
Executive Director of Doga Dernegi (BirdLife Turkey) firstname.lastname@example.org
Dicle Tuba Kilic Rivers Programme Coordinator of Doga Dernegi email@example.com
information on the fight against the Ilisu dam on our Rivernet Website