Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Turkish activists make the ‘big jump’ to free rivers from dams (Turkey faces losing 80 percent of its biodiversity)

Activists in Turkey have gathered along several rivers across the country to make a swan dive in the global “big jump” event calling for the protection of waterways to protest the scores of hydroelectric plant projects (HES) and dams that threaten dozens of environmentally protected or untouched areas.

One of the venues was the picturesque town of Hasankeyf at the border of the Tigris River, which will be flooded by the gargantuan Ilısu reservoir when completed.

The Nature Association, which sponsored the event in Turkey, stressed the Constitutional Court had halted legislation that exempted companies making huge energy investments from the validation of an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report earlier this month.

  • It also said that Turkey faces losing 80 percent of its biodiversity if the HES projects are to be completed in the near future.

“While in a normal state of law it would be impossible to think not to what’s required by this ruling, in Turkey all the unlawful projects are ongoing,” said Engin Yılmaz, chairman of the association.

  • “Rivers are the source of life. Each river is also the heart of all the life destroyed by dams and HES. We don’t only lose our biodiversity, like in Hasankeyf, we also lose the cultures that have lived in these lands and are our roots,” he said.

Other similar demonstrations have been held at the fiery Fırtına River in the Black Sea province of Rize, at the Süvari Çayı River in Ankara and nearby the Alakır River in the southern province of Antalya. 


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