The Kurdish Human Rights Project has issued the report of its fact-finding
mission into a series of controversial dams planned for the
Munzur Valley in the Kurdish regions of Southeast Turkey.
The report focuses on the dam projects planned for the Munzur Valley National
Park. KHRP finds no economic or energy-related justification for the projects
which would offset their disastrous human rights and environmental impacts.
The Munzur Valley is Turkey's first and foremost national park. A series of 8
dams and Hydro-Electric Power Plants (HEPPs) is scheduled
for construction. The dams are part of the widely criticised series of massive
dam projects in the Kurdish regions known as GAP, or the
Southeastern Anatolia Project .
The centrepieces of the Munzur projects, the Konaktepe Dam and HEPP, are to be
built by a consortium of companies led by US engineering firm Stone and Webster.
Other companies include the Austrian firms VA Tech Hydro and Strabag and the
Turkish firm Soyak and ATA . It is expected that if the Munzur projects go
ahead, public funding for them will be sought through export credit agency
support from several Western countries .
The estimated cost of the projects is over $2 billion; yet the projected energy
output for all 8 projects is less than 1 per cent of Turkey's gross annual
production, 362 MW.
The World Wildlife Fund has called for additional protection for the area's
unique ecosystem which would be destroyed by the projects. The projects would
make the valley uninhabitable for up to 40,000 local people and violate domestic
KHRP's report 'This is the Only Valley Where We Live: The Impact of the Munzur
Dams' highlights Turkey's history of pursuing a policy of displacement towards
the Kurds, and the role played by the GAP dams. KHRP recommends a permanent
moratorium on the construction of any major dam or infrastructure projects in
the Munzur valley until an independent analysis indicates that the social and
environmental benefits to local people outweigh the damage and costs. It also
urges funders and companies involved to reconsider their positions.
Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of KHRP, says, "The Munzur Valley is one of
Turkey's national treasures. It is unthinkable that a project for which there is
no economic justification and from which local people will only suffer can go
ahead under any circumstances. A permanent moratorium on dam construction is the
only way to safeguard Munzur, and we call on all potential funders or
construction companies to implement one."
Notes for Editors:
 For more on the human rights and environmental impacts of the GAP dams, of
which the best-known is the Ilisu Dam, see the series of KHRP and Ilisu Dam
Campaign reports, including The Ilisu Dam: A Human Rights Disaster in the Making,
(London, November 1999); If the River Were a Pen: The Ilisu Dam, the World
Commission on Dams and Export Credit Reform, (London, October 2000); The Ilisu
Dam: Displacement of Communities and Destruction of Culture, (London, October
 Turkish sources have recently reported that ATA have dropped out of the
Munzur projects due to disagreements with the Turkish state. ATA's withdrawal
has not been officially confirmed by the company at this time.
 National export credit agencies from whom support would in all likelihood be
sought include the US Ex-Im, who may be in line to finance the entire project
through a prior agreement, the Austrian OeKB, the German Hermes, the Swiss ERG
and the French COFACE.