“Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it.” – Lao Tzu
The construction of the Ilisu Dam on on the Tigris river is set to be completed by 2015. Once the dam is fully operational, it will have drowned vast parts of the Tigris Valley in Batman Province, eastern Turkey.
In addition to the destruction of nature and historical sites such as Hasankeyf, dating back to 1800 B.C., the predominantly Kurdish population is being relocated to the industrial city of Batman.
Farmers, fishermen and their families who, for generations, have lived with the river’s natural flow, are being forced to give up their homes and agricultural lifestyle to make way for Turkey’s need for electricity and irrigation.
Long-standing political disharmony between the Turkish majority to the North and West and the Kurds to the South and East means that Turkey hopes to gain in numerous ways at the expense of Kurdistan- Whilst harvesting electricity for the mainly Turkish population centres outside of Kurdistan, creating an agribusiness-ready valley for international investors, blocking water supplies to much of Kurdistan and forcing a people out of their homeland, Ankara is lining up for a major victory against Kurdistan whose population has been demonised throughout the country since its incorporation into Turkey after WWI.