By: ECA Watch Austria
Thomas Wenidoppler - ECA Watch Austria: +43 650 822 52 00
Ulrich Eichelmann - ECA Watch Austria: +43-676 6621512
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ECA Watch Austria and WWF Austria strongly critizised today Andritz' decision to continue their involvement with the Ilisu project on the Tigris river in south-eastern Turkey, and emphasized that such a decision will not go without consequences. The explanations of Andritz-CEO Wolfgang Leitner contradict reality and are nothing but a sequence of skewed facts, say project critics. The company’s decision is also a slap in the face for Germany, Austria and Switzerland’s governments, who withdrew from the project in July 2009 because of its vast impacts and its breach of international standards.
“’Ilisu’ is not built yet and resistance against the project continues. Such greed for profit should not be rewarded. Those who profit from the destruction of ancient Hasankeyf will be branded for a long time”, warned Ulrich Eichelmann from the Stop Ilisu Campaign. He announced further actions to follow against the companies involved in the project.
A similar reaction came from WWF Austria: "It is a disgrace that an Austrian company wants to profit from this inhuman and catastrophic project, come hell or high water. With its involvement Andritz shares the responsibility for the destruction of natural and cultural heritage of global significance. This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Andreas Wurzer from WWF Austria.
Andritz-CEO Leitner’s statement, that ’Ilisu’ will be a „particularly modern power plant with high social and ecological safeguarding“ is not only a misrepresentation of facts and a dangerous belittlement of reality but also a verbal slap in the face for the three European governments that withdrew from their contracts with Turkey after several years of monitoring project development. Pivotal for their decision were the expected impacts of the project and the fact that Turkey was unable to meet international standards in their resettlement policies as well as in minimalizing impacts on the environment and on cultural heritage. In this light Mr. Leitner’s statement that „it would not be understandable, if we [Andritz] did not participate“ is hard to comprehend. One year ago Austrian Finance Minister Josef Pröll together with the Austrian export credit agency Kontrollbank’s head Rudolf Scholten had politically decided Austria’s withdrawal from the project. How will they react to Andritz' decision?
Mr. Leitner’s reference to the „functioning legal System in Turkey“ also shows that he has either misjudged reality or is purposely misrepresenting the situation. People are still being displaced rather than resettled according to internationally valid standards. People on site have not yet been adequately informed about their future, haven’t seen the authorities’ resettlement plans, and don’t know how they willmake a living after their land and houses have been expropriated.
Only a few days ago the mayor of Ilisu village affirmed that the inhabitants will receive max.. 20,000 Turkish Lira(ca. 10,000 Euro) in compensation for their old houses, while they will have to pay 70,000 TRY for new ones. „Such injustice contradicts all international resettlement standards. Anyone who speaks of a functioning legal system in the light of these facts must put up with the accusation of cynism and denial of reality”, stated Ulrich Eichelmann.
After this decision, the question remains: how bad do conditions have to get for Andritz to withdraw from a project? “A company that participates in a project like Ilisu will clearly do anything for profit”, concluded Mr. Eichelmann.