Hasankeyf dam and “brainless” laws will leave hundreds homeless
Hundreds of people who will lose their homes in the flooding caused when the Ilısu Dam in southeast Turkey fills later this year will not be assigned new homes due to resettlement laws, Julia Harte wrote in a report published by Reuters on Wednesday.
The dam, which will produce 1,200 megawatts of electricity once operational, has already proven controversial since it will reduce the flow of water to neighbouring Iraq and displace tens of thousands of Turkish citizens living in the area, as well as submerging the important ancient settlement of Hasankeyf.
Hundreds of those displaced will be unable to take residence the new homes the government prepared due to regulations which prevent unmarried people and people with addresses registered elsewhere from claiming the home ownership on the new site, Reuters quoted local residents and officials as saying.
“They told us everything would be perfect - that everyone would own a house, there wouldn’t be any problems … But now we are doomed to be migrants,” Hizrullah, an unmarried 44-year-old resident of Hasankeyf who along with her brother does not meet regulations to be rehoused, told Reuters.
“Whoever wrote these laws is brainless … They’ll have to change them. There won’t be anywhere for these people to go,” Reuters quoted Ahmet Akdeniz, president of the local cultural association, as saying.
Meanwhile, hundreds of residents of another village in the area to be submerged will reportedly not be able to receive homes on the new settlement site because their village is not considered a part of Hasankeyf.
The village headman of Kesmeköprü said the authorities had denied his villagers the right to move in to the new site, saying they could not be moved to a city as they were “village people.”
However, the Agriculture and Forest Ministry told Reuters the people of Kesmeköprü had been paid for their land and had not applied for new homes on the site.