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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP Protest against the Ilisu Dam outside AKBANK’s London Headquarters
Monday, 15 March 2010 13:02

Protestors Outside AKBANK's London Headquarters


Earlier this afternoon, protesters gathered outside of AKBANK’s London Headquarters for KHRP’s action against the proposed Ilısu hydro-electric Dam project in south-east Turkey. The protest was one of a series of demonstrations that took place in front of the European branches of Turkish banks AKBANK and Garantibank in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Essen and Hannover. Following yesterday’s International Day of Action for Rivers, the protests sought to highlight the banks recent decisions to pledge financial support for the dam’s construction along the Tigris River, although the project continues to severely flout international law.

Green Party MEP and KHRP’s Advisor on Environmental Rights, Jean Lambert, Bengi Yıldız a local MP for Batman, Turkey, and KHRP Board Secretary Rajesh Rai, were among several speakers to draw attention to the potentially devastating impact of the dam if current plans continue unrevised. During the demonstration however, AKBANK refused to accept a letter of protest undersigned by KHRP, The Corner House, Bengi Yıldız, and Jean Lambert, MEP, urging the bank to consider the consequences of the proposed dam and calling for them to withdraw their support.

As long-highlighted by KHRP and its international partners in the Ilisu dam campaign, the project looks set to result in a huge cultural, social and environmental catastrophe. A staggering 85,000 people, mostly Kurds are threatened with displacement.  The dam will also flood the ancient town of Hasankeyf and destroy unexplored archaeological sites, devastate the environment upstream and downstream and with it the Tigris River’s richly diverse ecosystems, and has the potential to exacerbate conflict in the region by severely reducing water flow to the downstream states of Iraq and Syria.

‘Hasankeyf is not the only site of archaeological interest to be lost in the flood. The area has yet to be thoroughly surveyed by archaeologists whom believe discoveries from the area could lead to connections between Neanderthals and modern man. In addition, the flooding caused by the dam will wipe out recent cultural heritage and will devastate the lives of thousands of people whose homes will become submerged underwater’, said Rachel Bernu Managing Director of KHRP. ‘We hope that today’s demonstration and those across Europe will with continued awareness-raising and sustained pressure, help to compel AKBANK and  Garantibank to reconsider their positions and invest responsibly in compliance with international standards’.

Jean Lembert MEP Addresses Protestors Bengi Yildiz, MP for Batman Addresses Protestors