Ilisu Dam on the Rocks

Monday, April 28, 2008

Financiers May Withdraw From Ilisu Dam

Stop Ilisu Slideshow Last year, the governments of Switzerland, Austria and Germany approved export guarantees for the controversial dam, provided that the Turkish government comply with 150 conditions on social and environmental concerns. A committee of experts was set up to monitor the implementation of these conditions. In early 2008, just before the planned start of construction, the expert team published a devastating review, which concluded that Turkish authorities ignored most of the project’s environmental and social conditions. In March, Federal minister Heidemarie Wieczoreck-Zeul said that Germany will "withdraw export guarantees if the agreed to measures are not applied." In April, government delegations from all three donor countries spent weeks in Turkey’s capital to encourage authorities to implement the conditions.

The expert committee found that the majority of conditions related to resettlement had not been implemented and that critical biodiversity studies had not been initiated. "The resettlement and income restoration measures for the communities affected by Phase 1 construction at dam site have not been readied and are not in place," the report states. The experts suggested that construction be postponed. Sources suggest that the Turkish government had blindly signed onto the conditions, never even planning to implement them.

Meanwhile, the Turkish campaign against the Ilisu project is growing stronger every day. Doga Dernegi, Turkey’s largest environmental organization, recently joined the movement to stop construction of this large dam in the Southeastern part of the country.

With more and more organizations joining the campaign, and more and more experts and decision-makers questioning the viability of Ilisu, the cracks in the grand plans appear larger today than ever before.

More information: 

For more information on the campaign to stop the Ilisu Dam, visit the following websites: WEED,, BankTrack, ECA Watch Austria, Berne Declaration, and Initative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive

Cover photo by Peter Thomas