Belper demo against Turkey dam which threatens 78,000

Campaigners held a local demonstration against an Andritz project in Turkey.
Campaigners held a local demonstration against an Andritz project in Turkey.

Eco-activists demonstrated at Belper’s North Mill against a local company with ties to a hydro dam project that may devastate hundreds of communities in Turkey.

The group of demonstrators took to the streets to raise awareness for the Kurdish people who may be affected by the building of Ilisu hydroelectric dam in eastern Turkey.

Artist's model of the dam to be built near the village of Ilisu in eastern Turkey.

Artist's model of the dam to be built near the village of Ilisu in eastern Turkey.

They hung a banner outside the North Mill offices of engineering company Andritz Ltd, which has ties to the dam’s construction, on Monday, August 24.

The banner read: “Andritz Hydro = Ilisu Dam. 78,000 people displaced in Kurdistan,” referring to a sister company of Andritz Ltd.

The Austrian company Andritz Hydro plays a leading role in the construction of the Ilisu hydroelectric dam in the cultural area of North Kurdistan, which lies within eastern Turkey, and is part of a series of 22 dams that activists say will displace some 78,000 people, and mostly Kurds.

In total 199 villages and towns would be destroyed by the Ilisu Dam, including Hasankeyf, a 12,000-year-old settlement home to thousands of human-made caves, hundreds of medieval monuments and a rich-ecosystem, which may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world.

Campaigners hung a banner in solidarity for Kurdish people who may be affected by the dam.

Campaigners hung a banner in solidarity for Kurdish people who may be affected by the dam.

But protesters say the town will disappear under a 121-square-mile artificial lake if the Ilisu Dam is completed, so they are calling on UNESCO to certify the area a World Heritage Site.

The group demonstrating on Monday said it was ironic the company had their offices at a building which is already a world heritage site.

Alice Summers of the group added: “We’re here today as part of the international campaign to stop the Ilisu Dam.

“We have come together today in solidarity with the Kurdish people, and against the environmental devastation of a beautiful and historic place.”

The completed GAP Project will reduce water flow to Syria by 40 per cent and Iraq by 80 per cent, aid the group.

The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive (ITKHA) said: “Almost all of Iraq cities’ drinking water comes from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

“Turkey wants to be a regional power and this dam is a tool to put pressure on Iraq.”

Andritz is a global group including hydro power turbine manufacture - the company has supplied pumps for a drinking water treatment plant in Iraq.

When asked for comment on the demonstration in Belper a local employee said: “I don’t know anything about it.”