Thomas Wenidoppler - ECA Watch Austria: +43 650 822 52 00
Ercan Ayboga -- Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive: +49 163 7577 847
Heike Drillisch -- CounterCurrent: +49 177 3452 611 www.stopilisu.com, http://www.stopilisu.com/
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According to information from the 'Initiative to keep Hasankeyf alive', the inhabitants of Ilisu village are to be resettled in two months time. It has now become clear that this will threaten their material existence; they will have to pay 50,000 Turkish Lira (ca. 25,000 Euro) more for their new houses than what they receive in compensation from the Turkish state. While they receive max. 20,000 TRY in compensation, the new houses will cost them 70,000 TRY.
"The people in Ilisu are in despair. Even those who used to be in favour of the dam are now against it", reported Ipek Tasli from the Initiative, who spoke to inhabitants of Ilisu a few days ago. State authorities had promised, that the inhabitants would become employed on the construction site, but now they mostly employ workers from other regions in Turkey.
Once their land is flooded, the inhabitants of Ilisu who survive primarily on agriculture will have no source of income left. It is questionable how they should then pay the loans for their new houses. Already now they are not able to use parts of their land, as they have already been closed off for construction. The inhabitants have not received any compensation for this land yet.
"The Austrian company Andritz shares responsibility for this fiasco, if it does not withdraw from the project", commented Thomas Wenidoppler from ECA Watch Austria. Only a few weeks ago it became official that Andritz will be the only European company to remain in the project. All other European partners have followed the recommendations of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, who pulled out of 'Ilisu' in July 2009 because Turkey had not fulfilled project conditions on resettlement, cultural heritage and environmental issues.
Turkey has also broken another promise in the Ilisu project; an article in Hurriyet Daily News from May 24th reported that the antique bridge and El Rizk Mosque will not be spared from perishing in the Ilisu dam reservoir. Until now Turkish authorities had always ensured that they 'save' Hasankeyf's cultural heritage by moving its twelve most important monuments to an Archeology Park close by. The new plan only speaks of building replicas.
"Prime Minister Erdogan's full-bodied promises turn out to be mere delaying tactics in order to appease project critics", said Heike Drillisch, Coordinator of the German network CounterCurrent. It seems as if Mr. Erdogan does not attach much importance to either the cultural heritage or to the international reputation of his country." Numerous Turkish and international celebrities and parliamentarians as well as the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) have spoken out for the preservation of Hasankeyf."