In just a few short weeks, on the 14th of July 2019, the community-led campaign Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive will host a “Big Jump” into the Tigris River at the 12,000 year old town of Hasankeyf, to demonstrate support for the preservation of the town and the river.
Both Hasankeyf and the entire Tigris River are currently facing an existential threat due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project in southeastern Turkey. As part of the dam project, Hasankeyf, an ancient city of rich cultural heritage, with hundreds of archeological sites and monuments, and some 6,000 residents, will be completely flooded. This rich heritage will be destroyed and people will lose their homes and livelihoods.
The damage does not stop at the shores of Hasankeyf. The dam project will degrade the Tigris River ecosystem, which is both beautiful and rich in biodiversity. Downstream, communities along the Tigris River face loss of livelihood and poverty as the dam threatens to significantly reduce water flow to the entire Tigris River valley. The consequences will be particularly severe in Iraq, affecting major cities, agriculture, and posing an existential threat to the Iraqi Marshes, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The filling of Ilisu Dam reservoir was scheduled to start on 10 June 2019, but this has been postponed following widespread protests as part of the 3rd Global Action Days for Hasankeyf on June 7th and 8th 2019.
We must keep up the pressure! Save the Tigris invites you to come and join the “Big Jump” with our colleagues in Hasankeyf! At 1:00pm on July 14th, we will join together with banners and a strong spirit and jump into the Tigris River to support its preservation, and the preservation of beautiful Hasankeyf.
If you want to do something but can’t travel all the way to Hasankeyf, you can create your own local Big Jump, film it, and tag Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive and Save the Tigris in the post! You can also use the hashtags #SaveHasankeyf and #SaveTheTigris.
Lastly, we kindly invite you to sign the following petition: Save 12,000 Year Old Hasankeyf!
This new petition demands that the Turkish government refrain from filling the Ilisu Dam and instead initiate a participatory discussion with the local population on the future of the region. It further seeks to achieve an agreement between Turkey, Iraq, and Syria which would guarantee fair water distribution within the region. Don’t forget to share!
Gabriela Kaplan, Save the Tigris