Urgent call to join Hasankeyf Vigil as filling of Ilisu Dam began

The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive and the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement have launched an urgent appeal as the filling of Ilisu Dam has started.

The Turkish government has started filling the controversial Ilisu Dam Reservoir on the Tigris River in the Kurdish Southeast of Turkey.

The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive and the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement have called on "all people and organizations to stand against this act of destruction. Join or visit the Hasankeyf Vigil in the 12,000 year old town Hasankeyf!"

Photos shared on social media from the 23 July 2019 showed how a road along the Tigris River just upstream of the dam has been flooded, said the activists.

However, they added "neither the responsible state agency, the State Hydraulic Works (DSI), nor any other governmental institution has made a statement. But the DSI informally informed people on the ground that it is a ‘test filling’. We do not know this in detail, but we believe this was said in order to start with filling the reservoir without facing any serious resistance."

New photos from 25 July show how the water level continues to rise and the reservoir now has a length of several km.

"It is crucial to show protest already at any and in particular this stage!", said the statement released by the two association.

"Activists from the Hasankeyf Coordination, a recently founded Turkey-wide platform of all organizations struggling against the destructive Ilisu Dam, will start with a permanent vigil in Hasankeyf in the next 2-3 days. It is planned to last for at least two months. The aim is that the “Hasankeyf Vigil” will become a site of resistance in the Tigris Valley. The activists from the planned Hasankeyf Vigil are asking for civil society organizations, political movements and parties, academics, artists and other interested people and groups to come to Hasankeyf daily either to visit the Hasankeyf Vigil, or even to join it!"

The activists added: "We are at a very critical moment and need to stand up strongly against the Ilisu Dam now! It is time to show international solidarity with the affected people in the Tigris Valley! If you can not come to the Tigris Valley, organize actions in your places and raise pressure on Turkish government!"

The activists ended their statement by saying: "We still have the chance to stop the dam being filled if the protest gains strength on the ground, as well as internationally. Whatever happens, we will continue to fight until the Ilisu Dam is stopped!"