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Ilisu Dam - Blair Backs Turkish Monstrosity


Over four years ago, responding to international outrage, Balfour Beatty abandoned plans to profit from the construction of a controversial dam in Turkey which would have destroyed historic towns and villages, made tens of thousands homeless and caused water conflicts with Syria and Iraq. It seems that Siemens may be stepping in to fill their shoes and Friends of the Earth are running a campaign to put pressure on them to disassociate themselves from the project. You might want to email Siemens to let them know your views and check out the original Ilisu Dam Campaign website where there are some suggestions for additional action.


On 2001-11-14 the Guardian reported that Balfour Beatty and their Italian partner, Impregilo have pulled out of the Ilisu project. Charles Secrett, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "This is a tremendous win against a disastrous project. The story of the Ilisu dam shows the need for laws which require British firms to adopt clear ethical and environmental standards in their work abroad as well as at home."


Here is the introduction to a report by Paul Brown that appeared in the Guardian on 2001-05-03:

The leading Kurdish dissident group, the PKK, would take up arms against the contractor Balfour Beatty if the firm built the Ilisu dam in Turkey and flooded the Kurds' homeland, company chairman Lord Weir was warned at its annual meeting yesterday. Diyardi Kurdi, who had bought shares in the company to attend, said the guerrilla group's two-year ceasefire would end if the company went ahead with the plan. "I have lost 24 close relatives and my house has been destroyed but we will not give up the fight."

I have also just found that there is now an Ilisu Dam Campaign Website at www.ilisu.org.uk


NOTE - I think I heard recently that the UK Government has decided NOT to grant an Export Credit Guarantee for this project which is excellent news if it is true.


The government of Turkey is going ahead with plans to build a hydro-electric dam that will flood 52 Kurdish villages and 15 towns. It will also give Turkey significant control over water supplies to Syria and Iraq. Apparently even the World Bank (who have funded some dodgy shit in their time) are refusing to have anything to do with it.

In the UK, top cabinet ministers, including Robin Cook, Stephen Byers and John Prescott have advised against supporting this project, but it seems that Tony Blair is keen to grant an Export Credit Guarantee to Balfour Beatty, the construction giant who are presumably in line to get the lucrative contract to build the dam.

About 16,000 Kurds are expected to lose their homes and land without compensation, and another 20,000 will have their lives disrupted. At least 19 Kurdish villages in the reservoir area have already been cleared at gunpoint and then burnt. Disagreeing with the dam's construction has been outlawed.

Check out SchNEWS for further info (issue 244) or search the net.

www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010