Byers' disaster dam
THE GOVERNMENT is giving public money to build a dam in south eastern Turkey even though its own official reports have concluded that the project will lead to an environmental and human disaster. Just before Christmas trade secretary Stephen Byers slipped out the news that private construction firm Balfour Beatty, which is building the Ilisu dam, is to get 200 million of government guarantees. But the dam will:
- Flood the ancient city of Hasankeyf, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and home to 10,000 people.
- Lead to the forced evacuation of hundreds of villages occupied mainly by Turkey's Kurdish minority.
- Lead to water shortages in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, so increasing military tensions between these states and Turkey.