The controversial planned Ilisu dam project in Turkey was today the subject of debate in a European Parliament workshop jointly hosted by Green MEP's Jean Lambert and Rebecca Harms along with Louisa Morgantini MEP (PES).
Before the debate Jean Lambert, who is Green MEP for London, commented: "If the Ilisu dam was built on the river Tigris in Southeast Anatolia it would displace up to 78,000 people creating social upheaval submerging the historic town of Hasankey forever. It will also cause serious environmental pollution, health problems and curtail the downstream flow of water to Iraq and Syria but as yet neither country appears to have been consulted about the plans.
"The region in which the Ilisu dam is to be built is characterised by conflict and human rights violations making free and fair consultations with local people virtually impossible.
"The dam is meant to produce hydro-electric power to cover the electricity
shortages in Turkey but there are many other ways to do this without destroying
the lives of thousands of people."
The debate bought together experts from the European Parliament, the European Commission and civil society organisations in the EU and Turkey to exchange views about possible EU implications and responsibilities as regards to EU businesses and export credit agencies (ECAs) contributing to the planned dam.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
Ilisu dam: The proposed Ilisu dam is part of the larger 35 billion dollar South-eastern Anatolia Development Project (GAP). The dam is designed to be 138 Meter high and expected to produce up to 3800 GW/h in electricity.
The ancient town of Hasankeyf, culturally important to many Kurdish people,
is a rich treasure of Assyrian, Christian, Abassidian-Islamic and Osmanian history
in Turkey. The town was awarded complete archaeological protection by the Turkish
department of culture in 1978. Numerous cultural experts and activists in Turkey
and abroad have appealed to the national authorities and the foreign companies
to save Hasankeyf.