The Big Jump for Hasankeyf

Scores of activists are expected today in Hasankeyf by the Tigris River at 1 pm.

On the second Sunday in July each year, people in Europe and beyond do a “big jump” into rivers and lakes as part of a campaign for the conservation and renaturation of our freshwater ecosystems.

This year activistes all over the world will make the 'Big Jump' for Hasankeyf.

Scores of activists are expected today in Hasankeyf by the Tigris River despite the pressures yesterday by police.

The magnificient 12,000 year old town Hasankeyf and the whole Tigris River are threatened by the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project in the Kurdish southeast of Turkey. Ilisu is one of the most controversial dams in the world for many reasons, each of which should be enough on its own to halt this project of destruction, exploitation and political hegemony.

The ‘open-air museum’ Hasankeyf, with its 5,500 caves, 550 monuments and traces of 24 cultures, is of so much of universal value that its flooding would be a kind of ‘cultural genocide’. This region is Upper Mesopotamia, where at least 400 other archaeological sites are under threat by the dam, as well as its unique culture and fabric of life. 

Solidarity action will be done in: Istanbul, Antalya, Avanos Balıkova, Kızılırmak, Sine/Iran, Baghdad, Sarajevo, Berlin, Hamburg, Mainz, Wendland, München, Nürnberg, London, Dundee/Scotland, Kopenhagen, Manlleu/Catalonia, Rio de Janeiro/Brasil, Rome.

If completed, the Ilisu Project would degrade significantly the rich biodiversity of the Tigris River ecosystem – still mainly natural. The dam reservoir would exacerbate the effects of the climate crisis. Up to 80,000 people would loose their livelihoods and end up in poverty. It would intensify internal and external political conflicts. The Ilisu Project would also gravely affect further downstream the water supply of major Iraqi towns and Iraqi agriculture, in particular the UNESCO site of the Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq. In summary, the dam would have no socio-economic or any other benefit for the vast majority of the society in the affected region.

The Turkish government wanted to start filling the Ilisu Dam on 10th June, 2019. But, mainly due to widespread protests in the framework of the 3rd Global Action Days for Hasankeyf on 7th-8th June 2019, this has been postponed for a short time.

That is why it is crucial to gather in Hasankeyf today, said the organisers of the action. "Electricity always has an alternative, but there are no other Hasankeyf and Tigris", said the activists.