City of Hasankeyf in Northern Kurdistan is Under Threat
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.