Berlin -- Around 250 Kurds, human right activists, environmentalists and politicians in Berlin staged a protest last Friday evening demanding that the Federal Government not approve an export credit guarantee (Hermesbuergschaft) for the highly controversial Ilisu Dam in southeast Turkey. If built the dam would displace 55,000 people, cause substantial environmental and cultural destruction and aggravate water conflicts in the Middle East. Despite this the German Federal Government still granted a preliminary commitment to support the project in late 2006.
"The cultural heritage of mankind may not be flooded for a project with a life span of a few decades. Conditions cannot solve this problem," said Claudia Roth head of the Federal green party Buendnis 90/the Greens. "There may not be a Hermesbuergschaft for this scandalous project."
The government did say it attached conditions that would supposedly bring the project in line with international standards. But the secrecy surrounding those negotiations significantly undermined the dam critics’ confidence in those conditions.
Heike Drillisch, of WEED (World Economy Ecology & Development) stated protests against the project would continue until international standards are demonstrably met. "As environmental and human rights organisations we will not be silenced by promises which we cannot verify", states Heike Drillisch, speaker of the developmental organisation WEED. "The conditions must be published immediately." Protests against the project will continue until international standards can be verified.
"55,000 people in the region demand the chance to co-determine their fate", said Ercan Ayboga from the regional Initiative to Save Hasankeyf in the Southeast of Turkey, which is predominantly inhabited by Kurds. "The German government may not spurn their rights."
"There is not even a complete environmental impact assessment available for the Ilisu project," complained Lutz Heilmann, environmental spokesperson of the parliamentary fraction Die Linke. "How can the federal government even consider granting a public guarantee fort he project?"
The green Member of Parliament Ute Koczy added: "Decentralized energy production from solar energy and other renewable energy sources as well as sustainable tourism would actually advantage the region. The German government must help to save the treasures of the Tigris valley -- not to destroy them."
The call for the demonstration is being supported by:
Mesopotamischer Kurdischer Kulturverein Berlin e.V., ISKU -- Infostelle Kurdistan e.V., YXK -- Verband der Studierenden aus Kurdistan e.V., Zanin -- Kurdischer Studierendenverein Hannover e.V., Verein der freien Frauen aus Mesopotamien e.V., Kurdistanhilfe e. V., Weltwirtschaft, Ökologie und Entwicklung (WEED) e.V., urgewald e.V., Foodfirst Information & Action Network (FIAN) e.V., International Rivers Network (IRN), Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) e.V., Internationale Ärzte für die Verhütung des Atomkriegs (IPPNW) e.V., Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen Bundesvorstand sowie Landesverband Berlin, Linkspartei.PDS Berlin
Additional Information Heike Drillisch, WEED, +49 - (0)177 - 345 26 11, heike.drillisch at weed-online.org
For pictures from the demonstration see www.weed-online.org/themen/467491.html