Ilisu Dam

The proposed Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River in Southeastern Turkey is one of the world’s most controversial hydropower projects. If built, it will displace up to 70,000 people, drown the 10,000 year-old city of Hasankeyf, and destroy valuable biodiversity. Iraq’s government has also expressed concerns that Turkey will use the Ilisu Dam to control the flow of the Tigris to the detriment of the downstream countries.

The affected population, the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, and Turkey’s biggest environmental organization Doga Dernegi are working to stop the Ilisu Dam. Their efforts are being supported by the Stop the Ilisu Campaign, the Berne Declaration in Switzerland, CounterCurrents in Germany, and ECA-Watch in Austria.

Because of the serious problems and strong opposition, European funders pulled out of the Ilisu Project in 2002 and again in 2009. In July 2009, European export credit agencies for the first time withdrew from a project which they had already approved over social and environmental concerns.

The Turkish government announced that it planned to continue the construction of the Ilisu Dam after Western funders pulled out, and the affected people continue their resistance. International Rivers supports the campaign against the project, and in particular monitors China’s involvement.