The Ilisu Dam Project
Project History
Map of the Area
European Involvement
City of Hasankeyf and Region
Ecological Effects
Water Conflicts

Background Information    

On the Tigris river in South-eastern Anatolia the Ilisu dam project, one of the most controversial dam projects in the world, is about to be constructed. In spring of 2008 the actual construction work started, then with active help of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In July 2009, after three years of ongoing local and international protest and after continuous disregard of international standards, the three European states quit their contracts with Turkey and the project came to a halt. European banks and companies followd this step, only Austrian Andritz AG remains in the Ilisu project. 

In spring 2010 construction work re-started. Turkey now tries to finance the whole project by itself (without money from Europe) and to push 'Ilisu' through against the will of the local  population. The total construction time is projected with 7-8 years.

The Ilisu dam would have a devastating impact on the entire region of the upper Tigris valley. About 400 kilometres of the Tigris and its tributaries will be destroyed by the reservoir upstream and the artificial flood wave downstream from the power plant. Artificial flood waves will destroy the ecosystem below the dam, a habitat for some globally endangered species and so far undiscovered flora and fauna.

More than 200 archaeological sites including the beautiful city of Hasankeyf will be destroyed. In its surroundings 23 different cultures have left their traces, not to mention yet undiscovered sites witnessing 10,000 years of human history. Thousands of people will have to leave their homes; their settlements and agricultural land will be flooded. The plan to build Ilisu conflicts with international treaties, since the neighbouring countries Syria and Iraq were not consulted. Also ethnic conflicts in Anatolia will be intensified.


last updated 25.08.2010