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The Ilisu Dam


Auteur : Kerim Yıldız
Éditeur : Kurdish Human Rights Project Date & Lieu : 1999, London
Préface : Pages : 156
Traduction : ISBN : 1 -900175-29-0
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 210x295mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Yil. Ili N° 688Thème : Général

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
The Ilisu Dam

Kurdish Human Rights Project: The Ilisu Dam

Kerim Yildiz

KHRP

The Ilisu hydro-electric power project is part of Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). The site is situated on the Tigris river, about 65 km upstream of the Syrian and Iraqi border. With a planned capacity of 1,200 MW, Ilisu is Turkey's largest pending hydropower project.
In September 1999, a fact finding team comprising three lawyers and a specialist in the social and environmental impacts of large dams visited Diyarbakir, Batman and Hasankeyf in south east Turkey on behalf of the Kurdish Human Rights Project. The purpose of the mission was to make site visits and to confer with elected officials, members of local organisations and those likely to be affected by the dam. Despite constant police surveillance and control, which severely restricted the delegation’s ability to conduct independent investigations as originally intended , recorded interviews were conducted with local politicians, lawyers, historians and a small number of project affected residents.
The mission also attended a public conference ...



FOREWORD

The Turkish government’s official publicity for the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) claims that the network of dams and power plans across south east Turkey will “dramatically change the social and cultural make up of the region”¹. To the many Kurds who have been displaced from their homes in recent years, this statement has a sinister ring to it.

In 1923, the establishment of the modern Turkish state under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk brought a new kind of nationalism to Turkey. All citizens were by definition “Turkish”: to define oneself as belonging to any other ethnic group was not only inconceivable, it was seen as an act in defiance of state authority.

Turkey’s fifteen million Kurds have suffered from various forms of oppression at the hands of the Turkish state over many years. In the late 1920s and early 1930s the state security forces of the newly established Turkish state used brutal methods, including mass deportations, to pacify the rebellious Kurdish south east of the country and to assimilate the Kurds into the Turkish population. In 1924, an official decree banned all Kurdish schools, organisations and publications. Use of the words “Kurd” and “Kurdistan” was forbidden and references to them were removed from Turkish history books. In June 1934, Law 2510 divided Turkey into three zones, (i) localities to be reserved for the habitation of persons possessing Turkish culture, (ii) areas to which persons of non-Turkish culture could be moved for assimilation into Turkish culture and (iii) regions for complete evacuation. At that stage, almost all Kurdish villages were renamed with Turkish sounding names. Parents could not register their children with distinctively Kurdish names. The Kurdish language was forbidden in written and spoken form.
Kurdish folklore, music, traditional Kurdish clothes and colours and the celebration of the Kurdish new year festival Newroz have all been banned at various times.

The oppression of the early 20th century continues today. The speaking of Kurdish was forbidden at various periods until 1991 and as recently as April 1999 the Turkish Ministry of Interior Affairs banned state run news agencies, government departments and universities from using words such as ‘Kurdish problem’, ‘Kurdish people’ and ‘evacuated villages’: instead they were ordered to use politically-approved expressions such as ‘our citizens who are identified as Kurds’ and 'abandoned villages’. In practice, any overt expression of Kurdish culture is likely to be seen as subversive. The savage conflict which has raged between Turkish security forces and Kurdish guerillas in south east Turkey since 1984 has been the background for innumerable brutal human rights abuses on the part of the security forces, including village destruction, torture, extra judicial killing and disappearances. The situation in the Kurdish regions has been roundly condemned by the international community.

Set in this context, the proposal to flood the Kurdish town of Hasankeyf in south east Turkey, a site which is of key cultural significance to Kurds, and to submerge the homes and lands of an estimated 25,000 people, must be regarded with scepticism. The llisu project appears to many to be part of a wider political strategy aimed at eradicating the Kurds as an ethnic group, by both breaking up their communities and destroying their culture. The support of the international community, which now acknowledges its responsibility for ensuring respect for human rights worldwide, for such a project without first conducting a meticulous examination of its implications must be regarded as grossly irresponsible.

This report, based on a five day visit to the Diyarbakir and Batman areas in late September 1999, documents a wide range of human rights and environmental concerns which strike at the heart of the llisu dam proposals in their current form. Environmental issues, the absence of any scope for indigenous people to express a view freely on the consequences of the project and on their own future, both lead inexorably to the perception that this project is yet another nail in the coffin of Kurdish culture. In the light of the findings in the report, the proposals must be examined carefully by those involved in the planning exercise.

The conclusions of this report oblige all those involved, in Turkey and in the international community, to pause for thought before committing themselves to a project which threatens to infringe the rights of so many, in a region already notorious for its lack of respect for basic human dignity.

Kerim Yildiz
Executive Director
Kurdish Human Rights Project

¹ “Southeastern Anatolia and The GAP Region” brochure, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Tourism General Directorate of Information

Introduction

The Ilisu hydro-electric power project is part of Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). The site is situated on the Tigris river, about 65 km upstream of the Syrian and Iraqi border.
With a planned capacity of 1,200 MW, Ilisu is Turkey's largest pending hydropower project.

In September 1999, a fact finding team comprising three lawyers and a specialist in the social and environmental impacts of large dams visited Diyarbakir, Batman and Hasankeyf in south east Turkey on behalf of the Kurdish Human Rights Project. The purpose of the mission was to make site visits and to confer with elected officials, members of local organisations and those likely to be affected by the dam. Despite constant police surveillance and control, which severely restricted the delegation’s ability to conduct independent investigations as originally intended , recorded interviews were conducted with local politicians, lawyers, historians and a small number of project affected residents.

The mission also attended a public conference in Diyarbakir conducted by academics and government officials on the archaeological and historic significance of Hasankeyf, an ancient city which bridges the Tigris river less than 100 km north of the Turkish-Iraqi border. The current dam proposal will result in the loss of the city, which will be largely submerged in the Ilisu reservoir.

The report documents the findings of the mission, and explores the social impacts of the project, in particular the issues of environmental impact, forced relocation and the likely submersion of the site at Hasankeyf. More specifically, it raises the following questions:
To what extent does the project involve violations of applicable Turkish law relating to forced relocation, housing and property rights?

To what extent does the project involve violations of international law, conventions and international declarations relating to environmental impact assessment, the international law of watercourses, and international human rights law, in particular expropriation, forced relocation, housing and property rights?

To what extent does the project involve violations of internationally recognised standards relating to large scale development projects, the treatment of minorities, forced relocation, and heritage sites, etc?

To what extent would participation in the project violate standards adopted by the companies involved in the project?

To what extent would involvement in the project violate any standards adopted by the export credit agencies which have been approached for financial support?

Section 1 outlines the project, its claimed benefits and the social and environmental concerns that have already been identified by NGOs and the project developers themselves.

Section 2 outlines the relevant national and international laws, agreements, resolutions and guidelines relating to long term development projects of this nature and the human rights implications of the project. It also reviews emerging “best practice” within the dam-building industry with regard to forced resettlement.

Section 3 reports on the main findings of the field trip.

Section 4 contains the conclusions and recommendations of the delegation, incorporating an analysis of the possible legal remedies to the legal violations precipitated by the project.

² See Section 3 for further details




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