|Germany, Austria and Switzerland Threaten to Withdraw Support for Ilisu Dam Project|
KHRP welcomes the warning from the German, Austrian and Swiss governments that they will withdraw their financial backing for the construction of the Ilisu Dam unless Turkey takes concrete steps to meet conditions attached to the project.
With the three countries having sent a formal Environmental Failure Notice to the Turkish government on 7 October, Turkey now has 60 days to display its commitment to addressing concerns raised by human rights activists, environmentalists and archaeologists about the potential impact of the dam.
As part of the international Ilisu Dam Campaign, KHRP has long sought to draw attention to the enormously negative consequences that the project would have for a wide region of south-eastern Turkey. Besides displacing some 55,000 people, it would also flood the ancient city of Hasankeyf and reduce downstream water flows to Iraq. Earlier in 2008, the Committee of Experts overseeing the Ilisu project said more needs to be done to ensure adherence to international standards in relation to the resettlement of the huge number of people who would lose their homes.
‘The latest announcement is certainly a positive step in what has been a long struggle. We are pleased to see European ECAs abide by their environmental and human rights obligations,’ said KHRP Deputy Director Rachel Bernu. ‘At the same time, it is clear that this does not mark the end of the road. The end will be when Turkey takes these obligations seriously. Its lack of compliance with these standards is a clear example of how Turkey continues to adopt cosmetic changes to its legislation without implementing the spirit of laws in practice. If these countries withdraw, it has given no indication that it will put an end to the project, even if it cannot afford it. It is vital that friends and allies of Turkey use their good offices to encourage Turkey to stop this project once and for all as it is currently designed.’