Last historical artefact removed from ancient Turkish town of Hasankeyf

The last remaining historical artefact has been removed from the ancient southeastern town of Hasankeyf ahead of its submergence as part of a dam project, Diken news site reported on Monday.

The main body of the 610-year-old Er-Rızk mosque was removed from the 12,000-year-old town in a four-hour operation and transported to a cultural park where the town’s artefacts will be displayed, Diken said.

Turkish authorities are pushing forward with a dam project to power the region despite years of international outcry and decades of resistance by local and national organisations.

The Ilısu dam project, which is expected to raise the level of the Tigris River by 60 metres, will submerge 80 percent of the ancient city of Hasankeyf, home of 2,500 people today, alongside several other villages which are home to thousands of residents.

Turkish authorities have been transporting hundreds of historic artefacts and monuments in Hasankeyf, including centuries-old tombs, gates and mosques, despite a decision from the country’s Council of State to cancel the tender for the move.

Hasankeyf locals have already started to settle in their new houses built by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ), which began the construction of 710 houses to accommodate the locals approximately two years ago.