ince 2007, photographer Carolyn Drake has chronicled areas threatened by Turkey’s Greater Anatolia Project. Among them is the town of Hasankeyf, which despite international objections, is scheduled to be flooded when the Ilisu Dam is completed in 2013.
Read about dilemmas facing modern Turkey in “A Land Apart”
, by Christopher Frey
in the September 2008 issue.
Hasankeyf is situated along the Tigris River in Turkey sixty-five kilometres upstream from the Syria and Iraq borders. Packed with archaeology and a mixed population of Kurds and Arabs, the town’s human roots extend back 10,000 years, uninterrupted. Just forty years ago, at the government’s request, most of the people of Hasankeyf moved out of their cave-like homes in the cliffs above the river. They resettled in houses in the valley below, where they graze their sheep, funnel the river’s water to their homes, and offer trinkets to tourists who find refuge here during scorching summers.
In Hasankeyf, lives are still intertwined with the currents of the river. But the town, along with more than fifty villages scattered along the banks of the Tigris, will eventually submerge under the floodwaters of the Ilisu Dam. One piece of Turkey’s giant hydropower and irrigation project on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Ilisu will displace thousands of people and cover most of the archaeology that’s built into the landscape. The twenty-two dams that constitute the project will help modernize Turkey’s poorest region and increase Turkey’s political leverage over water-dependent Syria and Iraq downstream, but scientists and activists oppose the Ilisu on environmental and human rights grounds.
To see more work by Carolyn Drake visit her web site www.carolyndrake.com