(March 03, 2006, Batman-Turkey)

A systematic policy on destroying, first degree site archaeological area since 1978, centre of culture and humanity, Hasankeyf has been going on for years to construct “Ilısu Dam”

lısu Dam which will cause destroying Hasankeyf is situated between the border of Mardin and Şırnak provinces. It is 13 km in the east of town called Dargeçit. It is 138 mt high from the base and maximum water denim is 527 mt. The capacity is about 11 billion cubic meter. The dam is being planned for 1200 MW power. By constructing the dam, one district, 30 villages, and 49 arable fields in provinces of Diyarbakır, Batman, Siirt, Mardin and Şırnak will be left under water. Twenty thousand people who live in this area will be affected. This dam will leave unfruitful lands behind. As farming lands will be destroyed, people in these areas will have to move to outskirt of big cities as unemployed people. Anatolia and Mesopotamia are known to have a very important cultural value in the civilization of history. Almost everywhere in this area caves, ruins, monuments, tumulus and domes carry the past to the present. Hasankeyf is one of the most important evident example that human being had settled somewhere for a long time.

The most historical works in the most important museums (British, Leuvre, etc.) in Europe are known as being stolen from Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Do the European countries, that will fund Ilısu Dam, want to destroy the rest of the historical works by leaving them under water? Why do not those countries support our uncompleted dams?

The most important feature that makes Hasankeyf first degree archaeological area is caves where people had lived, worship places, the historical tissue of the castle and graves of our ancestors. Planning and constructing of dams, of course, works. But before planning a construction we explore for cultural values of individual (traditions, religious values and cultural sites). Otherwise those constructions remain as unfunctional plans. It is a dead investment if it is against the values. Certainly this rule is valid for every company or foundation in all over the world. At this point, do you think that the companies and foundations that are planning to construct or support this dam are aware of this rule?

As engineers we can ascertain the lifetime of the dam. The materials like clay, silt etc. that come from the basin will fill the dam’s sub denim which is called dead capacity. And this causes to the end of a dam’s life and remains as a waste dam. We believe that it will last approximately 100 years. As tree planting against erosion has not been done yet, we believe that this life will be only 60-70 years.

In these conditions, this dam is not a gain for human being. What about leaving Hasankeyf, which has 7000 years past, under water? Can this be compared with materialistic values?

Have the human being not recognized yet how dams damage fields and that they will not be fruitful anymore? The construction of many dams have been started since 1980s and billion of Dollars have been spent but none of them has been completed yet (including Atatürk Dam).

Either because of financial problems or other reasons some parts have been finished, some parts have not been finished yet. The most important subject is that the uncompleted parts are watering units. Life of dams that keep water is about to come to an end. 80 % of watering canals have not been completed yet. The mentality that insists on constructing the dam, claims that they will save Hasankeyf by leaving the top of the castle above water. Hasankeyf is not only the castle. It has many caves on its right and left side and historical places around. If it is well searched, it will clearly be recognized that the basin, which will keep the water, consist soft and erosionable carstic rocks.

Carrying of thousand caves that will remain under water is not possible at all. Trying to carry the tomb of Zeynel Bey will damage the exterior mosaics. According to our laws, ÇED (Environmental Effects Evaluation) reports are obligatory. The European countries require such a report for every extensive construction. The most important side of this report is to ask for opinion of civil society institutions that are in the area of construction. Nurol Construction and Trade Inc. has required credit as the representative of DSİ (State Watering Affairs Institution) 10th Area Directory and Ilısu Consortium, from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Those countries have required a ÇED report from Nurol. This company, far from the truth, has shown the civil society institutions as if they are supporting the construction of the dam by tricky questionnaire questions. However, General view is against construction of the dam. So the civil society institutions in Batman do not support the ÇED report.

Human being has never wanted to visit the petroleum wells in Batman. They have always wanted to visit and learn historical places, the lifestyle of their ancestors, their values and their histories. All these values become a united whole in Hasankeyf.

We, Batman Branches of TMMOB (UNION OF CHAMBERS OF TURKISH ENGINEERS AND ARCHITECTS), invite everybody to be sensitive for not letting Hasankeyf being left under the water.

With kind regards.

Chamber of Civil Engineers
Chamber of Architects
Chamber of Mechanical Engineers
Chamber of Geological Engineers
Chamber of Survey and Cadastre Engineers
Chamber of Electrical Engineers
Chamber of Agricultural Engineers