Ilisu Dam – Sinking History

Hasankeyf, Turkey overlooking the Tigris RiverThe Ilisu Dam is a dam under construction in Turkey at the headwaters of the Tigris River. It has generated controversy because 55,000-65,000 people will be forcibly relocated and a city with a 10,000-year history will be flooded.

The Turkish government has promised that resettled people will be compensated, but many of the people don’t own the land they farm and won’t receive money for it.

Construction on the dam began in 2006 and is expected to be completed in 2014. Ilisu Dam will create a reservoir containing more than eight million acre-feet. The water will be used for hydropower to create electricity that will be used far away from the dam.

Turkish activists have tried to put Hasankeyf on Unesco’s World Heritage list, but so far have been unsuccessful – the Turkish government would have to agree to it.

Journeyman Pictures made a documentary about Ilisu Dam. It’s 26 minutes long and well worth watching.

Hasankeyf, Turkey photo via Shutterstock

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