Hasankeyf becomes a prohibited zone

ANF - Firat News Agency, 01.03.2014

Hasankeyf, which is threatened by the Ilısu Dam project, is becoming a prohibited zone. Despite a judgment of the Council of State suspending work on the project due to the absence of an Environmental Impact Report, barriers have been put up around the bridge in the 12,000 year-old town to prevent visitors gaining access. The ban on visitors going to the caves in the town introduced after a rock fall is also still in place.

Although efforts are continuing for Hasankeyf to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage list tourists wishing to see the town are encountering new obstacles. The police have put up a road block preventing access. And finally, security guards from the company in charge of the project are stopping tourists who want to take photos of the old bridge, after barriers were placed around it to protect it from the water that will rise once the dam is built.

The fate of Hasankeyf depends on 30 March

Recep Kavuş, an activist from the Save Hasankeyf Initiative, said that there has been a deafening silence about the Ilısu Dam recently, adding that the party that wins the election of 30 March will determine the destiny of the town. Kavuş added: “Hasankeyf is under threat from the Ilısu Dam. Time is running out. According to the government the dam will be finished in 2 years. Work has been stepped up for relocating the town. Hasankeyf is just awaiting its fate alone and without resisting. Unfortunately, civil society organisations are unable to raise their voices. Everything depends on the attitude of the party that wins the elections.  The decision of the people of Hasankeyf is important.”

The construction firm ignores the courts

Kavuş said that despite there being a stay of execution made by the Council of State the construction company had carried out excavations under the ancient bridge. “Despite all this illegality, political parties and democratic organisations have no programme or plan. The candidates should explain to the people what they intend to do to save Hasankeyf. Reactions made once Hasankeyf has been submerged like Zeugma will be futile. We must raise our voices in opposition before our cultural legacy is wiped off the map.”


Youths in Amed to start one-week tent act in Dicle Valley

Youths in the main Kurdish city Amed will start a one-week tent act as of tomorrow to draw attention to the cutting down of trees in the eight thousand years old Hevsel Gardens.

The tent act which will take place in Hevsel Gardens will also include various activities for the protection of the nature and the ecological life.

In a statement released on Saturday, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) said the tent act will start at 1 pm on Sunday.

During the protest act, youths will also protest against the planned construction of three hydroelectric power plants (HES) on the Dicle River passing through the city, and the recent announcement of the Hevsel Gardens as "reserve site of construction" by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning.

The protest act will also be supported and joined by deputies, mayors, environmental voluntary individuals and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

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