Ulrich Eichelmann ECA Watch Österreich 0043 676 6621512 Thomas Wenidoppler ECA Watch Österreich 0043 650 8225200
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Today the EU received unusual visitors from Turkey. Not high ranking politicians or entrepreneurs from Ankara, but 20 representatives of anti dam movements from all regions of Turkey. They delivered first hand reports to parliamentarians and the commission on hydroelectric power plants and their devastating impacts on the people, nature and cultural goods. And they spoke about their resistance. Together with China and Brazil, Turkey is the country with most hydroelectric projects in planning. The government of Turkey intends to build approximately 1,500 additional dams and thus stop the flow of practically every river in the country. "The resistance against Ilisu grew to a resistance against many more projects. The EU must support these initiatives and act upon Turkey to stop this flood of dams", says Ulrich Eichelmann from ECA Watch Austria.
Under the motto „Water Politics in Turkey - A Challenge for EU-Turkey Relations" a conference of another type is taking place today in the European Parliament in Brussels. European parliamentarians and representatives of the Commission received first hand reports on the situation at the Turkish rivers. For once not the Ilisu dam stood in the focus of attention, but many other projects which are mostly unknown in the West. Approximately 20 affected persons from 13 Turkish organisations spoke of planned dams, their impacts and the resistance against them. They came from all parts of Turkey, from the rivers Coruh, Yortanli (Allianoi), Munzur, Tigris, Alakir, Loc, Yuvarlakcay. In these valleys alone 598 new dams are to be constructed. Mrs. Pervin Coban Savran, representative of the nomads in the Taurus Mountains, told about the impacts of dams on her people. The reservoirs destroy their pasture and cut off their traditional migratory routes. Nonetheless, they were neither informed nor consulted.
The Turkish government usually does not inform the affected people or assess the impacts on nature and cultural goods as would be necessary. Ankara intends to build more than 1,500 dams in the next 20-25 years. This would entail the displacement of more than 100,000 persons, the destruction of almost all ecological lifelines and cultural treasures. „The Turkish dam policies violate European standards. We ask the EU to support us in our engagement against the devastating flood of dams in Turkey. We need help", said the representatives of the anti dam movements.
Participating organisations: Alakir River Platform, Allianoi Movement, Coruh Basin Conservation Union, Doga Dernegi, Free Munzur Initiative, Green Artvin Society, Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Loc River Platform, TEMA Foundation, Turkish Water Assembly, Yuvarlakcay Platform.
The conference was organized by ECA Watch Austria and the European Greens and was supported of representatives of the conservative, socialist and liberal parties.