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On the Global Hasankeyf Action Day in Hasankeyf and several cities hundreds of people have demonstrated against the expected destruction of the town through the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris and for Hasankeyf.
The biggest action was done in the 12.000 years old town of Hasankeyf at the Tigris River in Turkish Kurdistan today. Around 400 people gathered in the centre of Hasankeyf, which is threatened by the Ilisu Dam, and blocked the central intersection. Among the participants were ecological activists from neighbour provinces, 30 cylists who in the morning drove from Batman, and two dozen international political activists. A higher turnout would have been achieved it not for the arrest of 82 people in Batman - including the two co-mayors - on the day before.
In the city centre a declaration was given to the public and the numerous journalists. The speeches highlighted Hasankeyf as one of the main symbols of the diverse regional cultural heritage and the Tigris River as the source of life in the greater region. The affected people consider the destruction of both (and similar dam investment projects) as a threat to the life of a whole region and as a weapon against the rebellious local population. Including also the increased political repression in Kurdistan, increasing resentment of the population towards the government.
After the speeches the participants shouted "No to war and dams". Following they did a march on the main road to the Zeynel Bey Tomb where dragon kites were let fly. The kites were raised in memory of the children who have been killed in the last weeks in different kurdish cities.
A direct press release from Hasankeyf could not be done because the internet connection in the whole province has been cancelled by the government.
In Istanbul four ecological groups called for a meeting at the Istiklal street in the Beyoglu district within the Global Hasankeyf Action Day.
40 Activists and people from Hasankeyf working in Istanbul came together under the slogan "Hasankeyf is our culture, Tigris our nature; we will save both!" like in Hasankeyf. It was positive that there was a big press interest in this action.
Two days ago, on the 18th of September, there was a demonstration by activists in Baghdad's Tahrir Square against the Ilisu Dam. A group from the Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Campaign have prepared the demonstrations with a small number of demonstrators and less amounts of equipments like posters and support, but it flamed the street widely for the civilians. In the press and media there was a big interest where they have got more than nine press interviews.
Firstly the activists sent solidarity greetings to Hasankeyf and emphasized the engagement against environmental and thus social destruction; then criticized the upstream governments, particularly Turkey who has been cutting the water to Iraq on the Euphrates and Tigris for many years. The Ilisu Dam would be the worst scenario for Iraq. Iraq has been experiencing drought for many years, within Iraq the Marshes in the South are the most affected. The activists requested the stop of all dam constructions until there is a mutual agreement on international conventions.
"The critic on the Iraqi government was stronger because it does not engage itself hardly against Turkey. Although there is a war, Iraq must think about its present. The behaviour of the Iraqi government is a shame" said the activist at the end of their protest.
Activists, who were involved in the campaign against the Ilisu dam from 2006 to 2010, have organized an action at the port of Hamburg. In Solidarity they put messages into bottles and sent these on their way to Hasankeyf and the activists demonstrating at the same time. In their declaration the activists mentioned the resistance against the huge destructive project Ilisu for more than 15 years and expressed hope to stop the dam.
No information from the actions in London, Rome and other cities could be gathered.
Both, the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement and the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive will continue with their struggle against the Ilisu Dam which will destroy the livelihoods of up to 80.000 people in 200 settlemens, destroy the unique Tigris River and flood the unique antique town Hasankeyf. This dam project is in no way acceptable for us.