Dam Plan Threatens Historic Turkish City

<p>Plans to build a dam will bring much-needed economic development to a struggling Turkish region, but will also destroy ancient caves, mosques, and buildings carved into sandstone canyons along the Tigris River.</p>
September 13, 2007, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The caves at the very top are 3,000 years old."

"More recent sandstone mosques in the valley below testify to a time when Hasankeyf was among the richest cities in Mesopotamia."

"Soon the entire valley is to be flooded with a dam. The controversial project was first conceived in 1954 and abandoned six years ago."

"The 1.2bn euro (£816m) Ilisu dam is part of Turkey's vast GAP project - a network of dams and hydroelectric power plants along both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers."

"It will flood more than 300 sq km (116 sq miles) of land to create the second largest reservoir in the country."

"The dam consortium plans to create a culture park on the edge of the reservoir and transfer key monuments from Hasankeyf there."

"That includes the remains of a 900-year-old bridge, built when Hasankeyf was the capital of the Artukid Empire - and now the symbol of the city."

"Most experts argue the sandstone much of Hasankeyf is built from will crumble if it is moved."

"They scorn the notion the city can be recreated in a culture park."

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Published on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 in BBC
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