After Allianoi (see: My Heart in bleeding for Allianoi), after Zeugma (see: Zeugma, border town along the Euphrates) and after many unchartered dams destroying our historical heritage, it is the turn to the town of Hasankeyf on the Tigris to be flooded and blasted to pieces because of the construction of yet another dam.
[Picture from Archaeology News Network]
The location of the dam on the
is a very unhappy one for Hasankeyf
is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. From
Neolithic caves to the Roman fortress and later Ottoman landmarks, all are soon
to disappear forever as crews have already started blasting the surrounding
cliffs in preparation for the construction of this dam. Tigris River
As before in Allianoi and in Zeugma, the Turkish government does not listen to the pleas formulated by local and international communities to preserve the site. Internationally, it does not ring loud bells like when the giant Buddha’s were blown to pieces in Bamyan, Afghanistan, or the more recent dynamiting of the Temple of Bell in Palmyra, Syria, but this heritage is nonetheless very important from the historical point of view.
Of course, officials have their own arguments and as usual they underscore the fact that this dam will enable the irrigation of the surrounding land and generate a substantial amount of energy. They even expect tourists to come for scuba diving in the new reservoir in search of the submerged monuments (as if the average tourists walk around with his diving gear in their backpack!). The price tag for this operation is, however, that nearly 200 settlements will be submerged and some 15,000 people will be resettled in the newly built city of
on higher grounds. New Hasankeyf
It is comforting to hear that Ridvan Ayhan, who is a member of the Save Hansakeyf Initiative, confirms my earlier worries about the lifespan of a dam which is only 80 years on average. Nobody is asking the obvious question: and then, what? As I explained earlier when talking about Allianoi, water is of vital importance to our life but dams are not the one and only solution and they are not eternal as governments all over the world want us to believe. What will happen in 80 or 100 years from now when this barrage and so many others give way? No water then, no crops, no dams, nobody to take responsibility and sadly no historical city to be revived from underneath the sediments. How can we explain this to our children and our children’s children?
In December 2016, the HuffPost published a cry for help with large sized photos of the area but as usual, officials turned a blind eye to this kind of plea.