Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/214/8627
Stop The Ilisu Dam!
THE BUILDING of the Ilisu dam in south-east Turkey will lead to the forcible eviction of nearly 50,000 people, mainly Kurds.
The British government's Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) plans to underwrite construction firm Balfour Beatty's work in the dam, using $200 million of taxpayers money.
To this government, trade links with the Turkish government are more important than investing in schools and hospitals.
Since 1984 the region has seen over 30,000 people killed and 3,000 villages disappear, following an armed conflict in the area between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish state. Human rights abuses in the area range from extra-judicial killings to torture, rape and disappearances.
In this context, the building of the dam is a further attack on the Kurdish people. It will also be an environmental disaster, flooding villages and depriving areas downstream of vital water supplies. Yet, alternative energy supplies exist which the Turkish government is refusing to consider.
Thousands of refugees will be created as result of the dam but the British government won't provide them a safe haven here.
Now, doubts have emerged within government circles about British involvement in the project given Turkey's appalling human rights record and the ability of the Turkish economy to support the project.
Years of campaigning are now beginning to have an effect, in which British trade unionists have played a crucial role - in particular, the railworkers' union RMT and the construction union UCATT.
The Ilisu dam campaign will continue to work to end all British involvement with the dam.
For further details contact: Onay Kasab, Greenwich UNISON, Room 110, Macbean Centre, Macbean Street, Woolwich, London SE18 6LW.
Tel: 020 8854 8888 ext. 5226.
In The Socialist 13 July 2001: