Withdraw from the relocation project of monuments in Hasankeyf!

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To: 1) Er-Bu İnşaat, Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey

2) Bresser Eurasia BV., 3295 ZJ ’s-Gravendeel, Netherlands


Dear Mr. Tunç, Mr. Çetin and Mr. Bresser,

we demand in the strongest possible terms that you withdraw from the project to relocate several monuments in the antique town of Hasankeyf in the Kurdish Southeast of Turkey.

Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley are planned to be flooded by the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project. It would lead to grave social, cultural and ecological impacts in a larger region which has endured poverty and forced displacement for decades. Almost all 80.000 affected people and regional society reject the dam which would not benefit at all. It would violate also the right to access to water in Iraq, which relies substantially on the Tigris, and it would threaten the Mesopotamian Marshes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Without your consulting and implementing role, the DSI, acting on behalf of the Turkish government, would not be able to relocate up to 9 monuments in Hasankeyf to a new site. Since the revival of the Ilisu Project in 2005, the relocation of monuments has been a crucial element of the government’s untenable propaganda that Hasankeyf would be rescued through the Ilisu Project. The completion of the relocation is a precondition for the flooding. Thus it is unacceptable that you reduce your role to technical implementation! Hasankeyf is such an outstanding site that its conservation would be economically more beneficial than the Ilisu Project. Hasankeyf would fulfill 9 of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Criteria if Turkey applied to UNESCO.

Neither the DSI nor you two have ever tried to consult any local people or organizations regarding the relocation project. There is no transparency at all. Despite being well-known specialists in historic preservation, you do not take into account that the affected monuments are fundamental elements of Hasankeyf, which is an integral whole comprising both immovable and intangible heritage. The integral nature of the Hasankeyf ecosystem forms a strong part of the identity of people in Hasankeyf and the surrounding region. The DSI and also you have violated universal human rights, which are affirmed by international standards, including the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (CETS 121) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, both of which mandate the systematic and substantive consultation of local populations in such projects.

If you want to step back from being part of destroying outstanding cultural heritage, you could withdraw from the relocation project by referring to these breaches of international standards. It is still not too late for you!


Initiated by the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, Diyarbakir; email: mehdiplo@riseup.net – www.mezopotamyaekoloji.org

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