Ernst-Friedrich Harmsen (Germany), 13 February 2007

on Green Light Is Signaled with an Export Credit Guarantee, by Antje Bauer

The Ilisu project is dubious not only on archaeological and political grounds. Much more serious is the fact that the region lies in a highly active earthquake zone; dams put a strain on the bedrock, and the resultant pressure also pushes water into the crevices of the rock. This increases the likelihood of slippage and, in turn, the risk of an earthquake.

That this is being secured with a Hermes guarantee is socially not very meaningful in this region of Kurdistan. Farmers are being resettled; they will probably migrate to the cities and increase social problems in the large eastern cities. Thus, in two ways, this can hardly be an outcome that the Turkish government really desires, unless it is deliberately aiming at heightening tensions in Kurdish areas in order to pursue more military solutions.

On the other hand, the project is also dubious in relation to Syria and Iraq, as water would be diverted from a common source, and Turkey would be assuming yet another position of power.

Do we really want to spend money on this and forget ethics?

Ernst-Friedrich Harmsen
Geographer and historian

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