City of Hasankeyf in North­ern Kur­dis­tan is Un­der Threat

The Kurdish Globe - - WEATHER - H.G. Hassan

Ac­cord­ing to the 1975 cen­sus, the pop­u­la­tion of the city was about 4000 peo­ple, but due to the evac­u­a­tion of the peo­ple be­cause of the con­cerns for the fu­ture of the city, only 2000 peo­ple live in the city nowa­days. While the pop­u­la­tion of Turkey and en­tire world is ris­ing, what’s the rea­son be­hind the fall­ing num­ber of the pop­u­la­tion in the city which is un­der threat of dis­ap­pear­ance.

The re­cent in­for­ma­tion from Turkey re­veals that Hasankeyf is one of the most an­cient cities of North­ern Kur­dis­tanTurkey. It has an an­cient his­tory and many arche­o­log­i­cal sites. The Turk­ish govern­ment have be­gun re­cently to build a huge dam called (Ilisu) on the Ti­gris. This will lead to the to­tal dis­ap­pear­ance of the his­tor­i­cal city in­clud­ing all the cul­tural and arche­o­log­i­cal sites. Turk­ish govern­ment claims the dam will im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions of peo­ple in the area, most of which are Kurds. The dam will gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity and im­prove the agri­cul­ture in the area. It’s true that these kinds of projects in­flu­ence peo­ple’s lives, but when a city like Hasankeyf is sub­merged un­der wa­ter, the project will have an op­po­site im­pact. The city has sev­eral-thou­sand-year his­tory and is ex­tremely valu­able as Kur­dish her­itage.

The Ilisu web­site in­forms that the ar­ti­fi­cial dam will gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity by 2015. With the 23, 7 cu­bic me­ters, it has the abil­ity to gen­er­ate 4,120 KW elec­tric­ity which equals 10% of Turkey’s needs of power. On the other hand, it’s known that the dam is the fourth great­est in Turkey af­ter Ataturk, Karakaya and Ka­ban dams. The same source has stated that the dam will ir­ri­gate 121 thou­sand acres of land in the ar­eas of Nse­bin, Cizere, Idil and Slopi.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions have voiced their con­cerns about the project. They think that it does not only sub­merge the city and its arche­o­log­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal site, but also some species of birds, tree and plants will be in dan­ger of ex­tinc­tion.

Hasankeyf is a city lo­cated in Bat­man province. The city of Bat­man has been built on the ei­ther side of Ti­gris ten thou­sand years ago. The Ay­obians once con­trolled the city. It was also at­tacked by Mon­go­lians and many his­tor­i­cal and arche­o­log­i­cal sites were de­stroyed.

It’s quite clear why the city is un­der the threat of to­tal evac­u­a­tion. The re­mains of an an­cient civ­i­liza­tion are un­der threat. Is it cred­i­ble to sub­merge a his­tor­i­cal city to im­prove peo­ple's liv­ing con­di­tions and de­stroy­ing the habi­tat of thou­sands of birds, plants, trees and an­i­mals? This is not only our rhetor­i­cal ques­tion, but all the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists around the world ex­press the same worry. The lo­cal peo­ple in the area and peo­ple else­where in the world who are true friends of an­i­mals and hu­man be­ings should re­it­er­ate em­phat­i­cally for the Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties that killing his­tory and de­stroy­ing civ­i­liza­tions and arche­o­log­i­cal sites mean per­ish­ing hu­man­ity.

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