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The world heritage Hasankeyf in the South-east of Turkey must not be destroyed!

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, Vienna, 9. August 2006

The dam of Hasankeyf. The archeological kurdish Site of Hasankeyf.The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) appealed urgently on Wednesday to the German government and the coalition of the two large parties forming it to use their excellent relationships with Turkey to save the world heritage Hasankeyf in the South-east of Turkey from destruction. "It is dreadful to see that the very same German politicians who have supported and praised the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche in Dresden are now prepared to allow with the construction of the Ilisu dam on the Tigris the destruction of an extensive monument, 4000 years old, consisting of caves, streets, shops, madrasas ands churches", said the President of the GfbV International, Tilman Zülch, on Wednesday. "To prevent the flooding of the historic town with its archaeologically important sites we earnestly beg the German government and the two parties CDU and SPD not to grant Hermes export credit guarantees to the German firm, Ed. Züblin AG in Stuttgart, which is involved in the Ilisu project."

At the same time the GfbV International wrote to the Austrian Bundeskanzler, Wolfgang Schüssel, with the request that he exercise pressure on the Austrian firm of VA TECH Hydro Escher Wyss to withdraw its involvement in the construction of the hydro-electric station. According to information received by the GfbV the population of the whole South-east of Turkey is in a state of alarm following the laying of the foundation-stone for the dam last weekend in spite of protests lasting many years. "The Kurds and the assyrian-aramaic Christians regard Hasankeyf as an integral part of their identity, to which they are attached and which they care for", reported the Near-east correspondent of the GfbV Germany, Kamal Sido. He was urgently begged for help in telephone-calls with spokespersons of the people opposing the dam.

"German firms should not take part in the project. German banks should not finance it", said Abdulvahab Kusen, the mayor of Hasankeyf, begging the German government to intervene. "We are frustrated. We have spent the whole night in front of the gates of Hasankeyf protesting against the construction. Btu still they have begun. The excavators will tear our hearts. Our hopes are now pinned on public opinion in Europe. Perhaps you can bring your firms not to participate in this terrible project", emphasised Huseyin Agca from the municipal government of the provincial capital Diyarbakir. For the planned damming of the Tigris about 55,000 people are to give up their property, their fields and pastures and be forcibly resettled. The GfbV is afraid that those affected will not receive compensation of any consequence and will move into the slums of the large towns like Diyarbakir, Batman and Mardin. In the flooding for the 300 sq km dam at least 73 villages are to disappear alongside the town of Hasankeyf.

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