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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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Turkish Court Decision Offers Hope for Hasankeyf
KHRP welcomes a recent  Turkish court decision that spells hope for the ancient town of Hasankeyf and other historically and culturally significant sites threatened with flooding as a result of the construction of the Ilısu Dam and other hydroelectric projects in south-east Turkey.

The court overturned an earlier ruling from 2006 that had given the Department of Energy and Natural Resources decision-making powers in cases where dam construction threatened such sites. However, the latest ruling observed that this move contravened Turkish legislation on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage and returned decision-making in such cases to a ‘regional conservation council for cultural and natural assets’.

Turkey’s agreements with the foreign Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) that have been instrumental in ensuring funding for the Ilısu Dam include a requirement that the project must be in compliance with Turkish law. This latest development therefore shows that Turkey has also been operating in contravention of its agreements with ECAs.

KHRP, The Corner House, ECA-Watch, The Keep Hasankeyf Alive Initiative, the Berne Declaration and many others have long warned that the Ilısu Dam would have enormously harmful consequences for south-east Turkey’s cultural heritage, as well as the disastrous impact that it would have on the human rights of the local population and the environment. Besides flooding the culturally significant town of Hasankeyf, the project would displace up to 78,000 people and official efforts to pave the way for compensation have been hopelessly inadequate.

‘We are very pleased that the Turkish judiciary has issued this significant judgement in relation to Hasankeyf and the Ilısu Dam, though it is a shame that it has taken ten years to get to this point,’ said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yıldız. ‘We hope that the ECAs will now withdraw their support for this project.’