Batman, Turkey, Jan 26 2010
Today a press conference was organized by the Initiative
to Keep Hasankeyf Alive in Batman,
the participation of the mayor Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir and 20 more regional
mayors. The two involved banks in the Ilisu project - Akbank and Garantibank -
were warned to cancel their planned credit.
As we experienced the two Turkish banks Akbank and
Garantibank plan to sign in these days a contract with the Turkish Government
and the Ilisu Consortium for the finance of the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectrik
Power Plant Project.
If such a decision is taken, the destruction of a big
part of our cultural heritage, the damage of a big natural area and the forcely
displacement of several ten thousands people will be an obvious contradiction
to the support of these two banks in the past for projects developing cultural
activities and conserving nature.
In July 2009 the governments of Germany, Austria
and Switzerland have
cancelled their export credit guarantee for the Ilisu Project because Turkey
had not fulfilled the conditions required by the three European governments.
Immediately the three involved European banks, DekaBank, Société
Générale and UniCredit/Bank Austria withdrew
their engagement too. But the Turkish government continued to seek finance for
this project the Turkish minister of finance even visited China for this
purpose. In the end of December 2009 the Minister for Environment and Forestry,
Veysel Eroglu, announced that negotations are taking place with three Turkish
banks for the finance and in January a contract is expected to be signed.
After this statement we sent letters to 12 Turkish banks
in which we expressed our concerns on the Ilisu Project. As two of the three
involved Turkish banks are known, we wrote additionally to Akbank and
Garantibank to reconsider seriously their planned credit for the Ilisu Project.
But we did not get any answer from any Turkish bank till today.
Here we warn Akbank and Garantibank, banks that always
mention in official statements their respect for nature, human being and law
and describe this as its indispensable principles, not to invest in the Ilisu
project, one of the most destructive projects in our country.
We reject any financial support from where ever it comes
because it will lead to huge social, cultural and ecological losses. First of
all the Ilisu Project will flood the 12.000 years old antique city of Hasankeyf
at the Tigris River. At least 85 thousands would be affected directly by the project
and will loose their livelihood. The result would be impoverishment for them.
The Tigris valley, very rich in terms of
biodiversity with hundred of bird species and endemic species like the
soft-shell turtle, would be destroyed. Because in the affected area of 313 km2
no comprehensive researches have been done, there are more unknown significant
values which would be destroyed if the Ilisu Dam is constructed.
If the Akbank and Garantibank will be part of contracts
of the Ilisu project through a credit although these expected negative impacts
are known, they will be confronted with continuous protests on national and
international level. In that framework all sensitive people and organisations
will cancel their bank accounts and will end all commercial relations with
these two banks.
For the last time we call Akbank and Garantibank, who
claim to fulfill high standards in their business, not to give any financial
support for the Ilisu Project.