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European Rivers Network

The Munzur Valley in danger

in english only

The Ilisu Dam project


Yusufeli dam project

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-Verband der StudentInnen aus Kurdistan e.V


General discription in German (via Ercan Ayboga vom YXK in June 2001)

Acht Staudämme am Fluss Munzur
Staatlich verordnetes Ende von Dersim

Der türkische Staat arbeitet schon seit Jahren daran, in der kurdischen Provinz Dersim acht Staudämme am Fluss Munzur zu errichten. Eine nähere Betrachtung lässt jedoch eindeutig folgern, dass nicht wie angegeben ökonomische, sondern hauptsächlich politische Gründe dafür ausschlaggebend sind. Denn die Staudämme haben langfristig weder für die Region noch für die türkische Wirtschaft einen nennenswerten Nutzen. Der Hintergrund lässt sich daraus folglich ableiten: Diese Provinz mit ihrer atemberaubend wilden Natur und ihren seit Jahrhunderten opponierenden Menschen soll endgültig 'gebändigt' werden.

Den komplette Bericht steht als PDF Datei zur Verfügung, 5 Seiten)
The complet document is available as PDF Doc, 5 pages (in german)


General description in english (1 page, see below)

by Koray Duzgoren (August 2000)

The Munzur Valley takes its name from the Munzur Creek that runs through the foot of Munzur Mountains from the north. The Munzur Valley and Munzur Creek that named it start 50 kilometres north of Tunceli province and go down to the city of Tunceli. The Munzur Creek merges with Pulumur Creek nearby Tunceli and carries on its journey southwards. The area of the Munzur Mountains, Munzur Creek and Munzur Valley has been defined as a wonder of nature and was listed as a National Park in 1971 (as foreseen by the Law on Forests of 1971). However, the Valley was not included by the Law on National Parks which came into force in 1984.

The State Waterworks Agency is currently planning to build 8 hydro-power power stations and a dam in this unique area of 50 square kilometres. The construction work of one of them (Mercan) is completed and another one (Uzuncayir) is nearly completed. Experts say that most of the species of flora in the area, estimated at five thousand species, do not exist anywhere else in the world. It is also said that the diverse fauna in the area is also under threat and many species including deer, gazelle, eagle, falcon, bear, wild goat and wild boar will become extinct after the arrival of the proposed dams and power stations. Because the emergency rule administration is still in force in the region, nature lovers and nature experts are not allowed to conduct any scientific research and environmentalists do not have the freedom to conduct surveys in the area.

The dams that will flood the Munzur Valley all the way through are as follows:

1. Mercan Hydro-Power Station: Built on the Mercan Creek, one of the legs of Munzur. The construction work is completed and it will start to operate > next year. Built solely on the purpose of generating electricity.
2. Akyayik Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Planned to be built on Mercan Creek. Master plan is drawn.
3. Konaktepe-I Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Planning stage completed. It will be built off Tornova village near Munzur Creek.
4. Konaktepe Hydro-Power Station: It will be built by the transfer of the water reserves of Konaktepe-I Hydro-Power Station through a pipeline.
5. Kaletepe Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Wall of the dam will be 125 metres high. It will flood some 36 square kilometres of the valley.
6. Bozkaya Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Currently at the planning stage.
7. Pulumur Hydro-Power Station and Dam: It will be built on the junction > where Pulumur Creek merges with Munzur Creek. Currently at the planning stage.
8. Uzuncayir Dam: Construction work completed. It was built on the junction where Munzur Creek terminates at the reservoir of Keban Dam. Having flooded the entire area, it has cut off the link between the villages in the mountains and the Tunceli-Elazig highway. It was reported to be finally clear that the construction work of Konaktepe Dam, which is considered to be the most harming leg in the project, was offered to an American tender company who also obtained the mining licence > for the uranium mines in the same region.

It is estimated that some 6 villages will be flooded by the water from the dams. The grand reservoir of the dams will drown one fourth of Munzur National Park under water.

Some facts and figures:
1. It is argued that the numerous dams that are currently built or proposed will be built for irrigation purposes. However, the 25 per cent of the land in Tunceli is actually mountainous and rocky.
2. Having 320 of its 460 villages evacuated within the past 15 years, there is not a high level population in rural Tunceli. Most parts of the area are still included within the forbidden zone. The official population figures, estimated at 82 thousand people according to the census in 1997, is believed to be lowered down to 60 thousand people following the migration movements. Vast majority of the said population is concentrated in city of Tunceli.
3. Some 60 thousand people who continue to live in the region will have no > other choice but to migrate from Tunceli following the total extinction of livestock breeding in the area due to the prohibition of grazing (livestock > breeding was the most important means of trade and the power plant and dam projects which will destroy the wonders of nature such as Munzur National Park and Munzur Valley (although tourism-oriented projects were once considered as the only remaining alternative for the area).

Translated by Umit Ozturk Kurdistan Information Center London

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