The Ilisu Dam
Campaign and seven other UK and international groups have today (Tuesday 2/10)
released a 200-page response to the environmental impact report (EIAR) on the
proposed Ilisu Dam in Turkey (1).
UK campaigners have also been advised that UK support for the Ilisu project
could be in violation of the Human Rights Act.
The campaigners' report is a devastating critique of the proposed dam and the
EIAR, and reveals:
- that dam planners do not yet know exactly how many people will be affected and
have not said where and how they will be resettled; previous official estimates
put the number of those affected at 78,000 people, the majority of them Kurds;
- that on resettlement issues alone, the dam would break 15 international
guidelines on 75 counts;
- even with proposed water treatment plants, there is still a high risk that the
dam will lead to the poisoning of the Tigris River, risking the health of the
- that independent analysis of the EIAR's own figures reveal that the dam
threatens to cut off downstream water flows to Syria and Iraq in periods of
- and that each of the UK government's five self-imposed conditions for
supporting the dam have still to be met (2).
The government will decide whether to support the dam with $200m of export
credit guarantees within the next month. Its decision will be based on the EIAR,
on public comments and expert advice.
UK campaigners have strong reason to believe that UK support for the Ilisu
project would be in violation of the Human Rights Act, as it would bring about
human rights violations in Turkey.
"With the publication of our report, we are issuing a challenge to the
government - drop this project now or we believe there will be strong grounds
for a legal challenge," said Kurdish Human Rights Project Director Kerim Yildiz.
"The environmental report, on which the government will base its decision, is so
bad as to be embarrassing," said Nicholas Hildyard of the Ilisu Dam Campaign.
"It is contradictory, incomplete, partial and in many places wildly inaccurate.
In some areas - especially those that touch on the security situation in the
Ilisu region - we question whether the report has been censored by Turkish
authorities," he said.
"On the basis of this EIA, the UK government cannot - morally or legally -
support this dam," he said.
The campaigners' submission to five of the governments considering support for
Ilisu, including the UK, US, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, covers the
resettlement, cultural heritage, hydrological, and water quality impacts of the
dam; and a
critique of the environmental report's analysis of alternatives to the dam. The
submission also includes a plea from Southeast Turkey's Diyarbakir Bar
Association to reject the dam.
The EIAR was published only in English - and was therefore inaccessible to the
vast majority of affected people.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The groups submitting the report include: Ilisu Dam Campaign (UK), Corner
House Research (UK), the Kurdish Human Rights Project (UK), Friends of the Earth
(England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Berne Declaration (Switzerland), Campaign
An Eye on SACE (Italy), Pacific Environment (US) and World Economy Ecology and
2. The government's five conditions include:
- Draw up a resettlement programme which reflects internationally
accepted practice and includes independent monitoring;
- Make provision for upstream water treatment plants capable of
ensuring that water quality is maintained;
- Give an assurance that adequate downstream water flows will be
maintained at all times;
- Produce a detailed plan to preserve as much of the archaeological
heritage of Hasankeyf as possible;
- A published assurance that the required consultation of
neighbouring States has been carried out by the Turkish authorities.