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Opposition to dam remains strong in Hasankeyf

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Water resources intersect with environmental justice claims – these conflicts play over and over again throughout the world — India, Turkey, China. Economic development, and it utilitarian arguments about what is good, overtake the counter claims of communities who will have considerable loss and dispossession. From a justice perspective, who is right? What are the principles for establishing just ends? How do we get there from where we are today?

emiko jozuka

Opinions about the Ilısu Dam project in Hasankeyf remain fiercely divided after more than half a century. The Turkish government claims the long-stalled project will generate hydroelectric power and bring development to an impoverished region. But critics say it will irrevocably destroy a cultural and environmental heritage that dates back more than 10,000 years.

Debate over a controversial dam in Southeast Turkey has been raging for more than 50 years, but residents of the ancient and threatened town of Hasankeyf show no signs of giving up the fight.

“In the last four years, more tourists have started coming to Hasankeyf. They like it here and it is nice for us to be able to share our culture,” said Semra Argun, a local woman who, along with her husband and family, runs the only motel in town. “If the dam is constructed we will lose everything – our homes, this history…

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