Villagers protest HPP project in Zilan Valley

Works at the Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Zilan Valley have resumed taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the decision of the Council of State which had ruled to stop the construction.

The Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP), which was launched in 2014 in the region of Zilan (Geliyê Zilan) within the borders of Erciş in the province Van, was stopped by the Council of State decision in 2015 upon the objection of the villagers.

However, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic emergency, construction works were quietly restarted. Hundreds of workers are working day and night.

Zilan Valley is not only a beautiful landscape, it has also large, productive agricultural lands and is suitable for animal husbandry. The 4 HPP projects planned for it will clearly destroy the territory and change its balance.

In addition, when the HPP are completed, thousands of people will be forced to migrate, the water will be polluted and the plants and animals will consequently be affected and risk disappearing.

The Kyrgyz people were placed in the region of Zilan in 1982 during the time of the military coup mind, general Kenan Evren.

These days they too protested the construction of HPP in the Zilan Valley. Kyrgyz people living in the village of Ulupamir went to the HPP construction site to protest the building of the project.

For a long time, they stayed at the site, protesting and saying that their future too will be affected together with that of the animals and territory. A discussion erupted at the site and Turkish soldiers arrived in the area. After the protest, the Kyrgyz returned to their village.

After the protest, the commander of the police station in Zilan Valley called the villagers at the station and threatened them. The police station commander threatened the Kyrgyz villagers with consequences should they decide to continue with their protest.