November 13 British daily The Independent said Prime Minister Tony Blair was being pressured to drop British financial support for the S...
The Ilısu dam is also expected to top the agenda of a meeting of the World Dam Commission on Thursday, with emphasis on the possible effect on the areas population and environmental issues.
The Independent reported that Blair is facing pressure from within his own Cabinet and from the United Nations Human Rights Commission to block financing for the dam.
The World Dams Commission, headed by former South African President Nelson Mandela, is to make public findings on the Turkish project, and is expected to call for compliance to international standards on human rights and the environment.
Controversy over the dam has been fueled by fears that settlements and historic sites like Hasankeyf will be flooded when the dam is complete. It is expected that as many as 800,000 people will be made homeless by the dam. Hasankeyf was the capital of the Artukoğulları civilization beteween 1101-1231, and is home to one of the worlds first universities.
SKANSA PULLS OUT
Meanwhile, Swedish construction firm Skansa had pulled out of the project about a month ago because of the potential damage the project will inflict on the environment and communities in the area. The World Bank has also refused funding for similar reasons.
The project does have the support of British Trade Minister Richard Caborn and Construction Minister Nick Raynsford. Friends of the Earth spokesman Tony Juniper says this support stems from their vested interest in the construction industry.
The Ilısu dam project: Province Mardin
Height: 138 m
Reserve capacity: 10,410 hm3
Area: 299.5 km2
Energy production: 3.830 Gwh
Ready capacity: 1,200 MW
RIGHTS MUST BE SAFEGUARDED
The Independent says in its article that residents of the areas that will be inundated by the dam should have a say in its contstruction.
The report also stresses that the authenticity and cultural richness of the regions people, mostly Kurdish, be safeguarded in light of the threat the project poses to them. Additionally, environmental issues include concern that plants flooded by the dam waters will give off carbondioxide and methan gases, adding to global warming.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org