“There is a profiteering and militarist attack on Hasankeyf”
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive activist Ercan Ayboğa protested the demolition in Hasankeyf and stressed that the State of Emergency is being used to facilitate the demolition.
Rocks in the Hasankeyf ancient city which will be submerged in the waters of the Ilısu Dam to be built in Batman have been detonated with dynamite because there will be filling efforts.
It has been announced that the risky ones out of the 12.000 years old rocks were detonated, but that didn’t stop the many protests. One of these protests came from the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, who have been fighting for Hasankeyf in the region for years.
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive activist Ercan Ayboğa protested the demolition in Hasankeyf and answered ANF’s questions.
Ayboğa pointed out that Hasankeyf is one of humanity’s great heritages and said: “Hasankeyf is a very important living space for Kurds, and for Mihemlis (Arabs) and Syriacs. Of course its importance for humanity is that it is one of the first human settlements, and later on many civilizations sprung out from there.”
“THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IS USED AGAINST HASANKEYF”
Ayboğa considered the recent events to be a phase in the horrific insistence of the AKP government on the Ilısu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant project and stated that since the construction for the dam body started in 2010, square kilometers of land have been demolished and the first serious step towards the demolition reaching its current stage was the covering of the piers of the historic bridge in Hasankeyf with stones. Ayboğa stressed that the Zeynel Bey Tomb being transported away on May 12, 2017 pushed the demolition to the next level and stated that an irreversible process swiftly started in Hasankeyf.
Ayboğa said the AKP and previous governments looked at the Ilısu Project strategically from many aspects, including economical and political, and that they did not care about a history and cultural heritage of 10.000 years. Ayboğa stated that fighting for Hasankeyf has been rendered impossible under State of Emergency conditions and added: “They also want to take full advantage of the current war and State of Emergency conditions to this end. Holding a march for Hasankeyf today under the very intense political pressures has become impossible. But this dam project had been halted three times between 2013 and 2015. The Repulic of Turkey is one of the states that does the most destruction against humanity and nature under the guise of development in the world today. No cultural value, natural wealth and mass protests can turn this state away from their projects that cause destruction and exploitation that favors a very narrow group.”
“THE STRUGGLE ISN’T OVER YET”
Ayboğa said the following on the ecological struggle that has continued for years in Hasankeyf and the region in general, and what will come next:
“The struggle for Hasankeyf and the Tigris Valley has played a sort of leading role in developing the cultural and ecological awareness in the Kurdistan region and throughout Turkey as a whole. This struggle was strong for a long time, it was able to influence public opinion, and managed to stop the project several times - in 2002 and 2009. But the insistence of the state -the Ilısu project should be considered one of the several strategic investment projects of the state- advanced the project when new financial resources were procured and political pressure was increased in our region after 2011. The local society also failed to develop this long term struggle by employing strategic thinking at an important phase. In 2015, with the influence of the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement, the struggle started to regroup once more. But by fall 2015, the war started again and the State of Emergency was instated in summer 2016. The Ilısu Dam’s body has been completed according to official statements, but the Hydroelectric Dam and many structures, the New Hasankeyf residences continue to be built. We believe there are many technical issues, and we have stated many times throughout the years that the Ilısu Project is problematic in technical aspects as well. Many lawsuits regarding the expropriations have not been completed yet either. We don’t believe the dam can hold water by 2018. The statements by the AKP government are for psychological effect, they want to create an atmosphere that suggests ‘everything is over’. It is never too late for the struggle, and we are calling on all to join in!”
“THERE IS A MORE MILITARISTIC APPROACH”
Ayboğa stated that the fires in Dersim and the demolition in Hasankef is an expression of the state’s desire to use all areas within their borders for economic profiteering when they get the chance, and pointed out that the countless dams, hydroelectric power plants and dams in the Black Sea region are the products of similar policies. Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive activist Ercan Ayboğa stressed that the state enacted these projects faster in the Kurdish regions through the current militarisation and mechanisms of oppression and concluded with the following:
“As the assimilation of Kurds is also a state policy, there is an extra bit of motivation here. There is the approach that Kurds who have been torn away from their nature and natural environment will be assimilated faster and will resist less - this is true for all oppressed peoples. On top of that, the lands the Kurds live in within Turkey have borders with several other states, and the most important rivers of Tigris and Euphrates flow towards these foreign states. This is another important factor.”