It‘s not too late to save Hasankeyf and Tigris River!

No filling of the Ilisu Dam Reservoir!

For 12.000 years, Hasankeyf in the Southeast of Turkey has been a site of uninterrupted human settlement. With the labour of dozen of cultures this outstanding universal site has been created on the banks of the Tigris River and adjacent small valleys and hills. Recent excavations show that Hasankeyf lays atop of a deep, uncovered cultural heritage. Independent researchers state that Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley are as important historically as Ephesus, Troy and Cappadocia and fulfill 9 out of the 10 UNESCO criteria for a World Heritage Site. It is assumed that Hasankeyf is the twin of Göbeklitepe, a sanctuary site 225 km to the west with a similar age, which led to global new conclusions on history’s first human settlement.

While the Turkish government achieved the inclusion of Göbeklitepe in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Hasankeyf and the surrounding Tigris Valley is planned to be flooded by the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project, which is almost fully constructed. In recent statements the Turkish government announced that it will start the filling of the Ilisu dam reservoir on June 10, 2019. Officials add that in October 2019 Hasankeyf town would be affected by raising water level.

The Ilisu Project was and is a completely wrong and destructive investment. That is why since the beginning the project it was strongly opposed not only at the local level in Turkey, but also in Iraq, Syria and globally. Contrary to official claims, the dam would have no socio-economic or any other benefit for the majority of society in the affected region and up to 80.000 people would loose their livelihoods. Apart from Hasankeyf, an important part of the not yet excavated cultural heritage in Upper Mesopotamia along the Tigris River would be flooded. The biodiversity of the Tigris River ecosystem – still mainly natural – would be degraded significantly. The Ilisu Project would also gravely affect the downstream stretches of the Tigris, seriously jeopardizing the water supply of major Iraqi towns, and Iraqi agriculture would be put under serious risk. In particular the UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq would be threatened with drying out due to reduced downstream flows.

In the last few years, the government’s program of so-called “monument relocation and consolidation of rocks" has seriously damaged the cultural heritage in Hasankeyf. But there is still so much cultural heritage left to rescue. Despite the project near completion, we believe strongly that the cancellation of the Ilisu project would stimulate a process from which the broader local population, Turkey and Iraq would benefit directly, economically as well as socially and culturally.

We call upon on the Turkish government not to start the filling by the Ilisu Dam, neither in June nor later. Instead a new broad, participative and transparent discussion with all representatives of the local population on the future of the affected five provinces should be started. Based on the common outcomes of these participatory discussions, policies on the future of the Tigris Valley and the surrounding region should be developed and implemented with the agreement of all affected parties. Another condition should be the achievement of a mutual agreement with Iraq and Syria according to international law, which should guarantee sufficient water flows into the Mesopotamian Marshes and southern Iraq.

We call on all people and organizations all around the world to support our demands and to launch similar calls on the Turkish government!

A call signed by:

Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, Turkey
Save the Tigris Campaign, Iraq
Mountain Watch, Iran
Humat Dijlah, Iraq
Make Rojava Green Again, Rojava/Syria
Mesopotamia Ecology Movement, Turkey
Waterkeeper Iraq, Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Hasankeyf Matters, Turkey
Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI), Iraq
Ecology Union, Turkey
Munzur Environmental Association, Turkey
Iraqi Social Forum, Iraq
Green Rage Ecology Collective, Turkey
Güzel Zağros’u Destekleme Halk Kampanyası, İran
TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Engineers and Architects) Batman Provincial Coordination Council, Turkey
Civil Development Organization (CDO), Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Campaign Right to Water, Turkey
350Ankara, Turkey
Çoruh Conservation Union, Turkey
Life and Solidarity Travelers, Turkey
Green Resistence – Ecology and Life Newspaper, Turkey
Antalya Ecology Council, Turkey
Alakır Sister-/Brotherhood, Turkey
HDK Ecology Council, Turkey
Lebanon Eco Movement
Eco-Conscience, Tunisia
The Peoples' Advocacy Foundation for Justice and Redress, South Africa
Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition), Asia
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
Environment Support Group, India
Inter-American Vigilance for the Defense and the Right to Water (Red VIDA), The Americas Chile Sustainable, Chile April Foundation (Fundacion Abril), Bolivia
Movement of Defence of Water, Land and Environment (MODATIMA), Chile
Movement of Dam Affected People (MAB), Brazil
Friends of Earth, El Salvador
European Water Movement
Earth Thrive, Balkan
Odbranimo reke Stare planine, Serbia
Ekologistak Martxan, Basque Country
Network for a New Water Culture (XNCA), Catalonia
Ecologists in Action, Spain
World Heritage Watch (WHW), Germany
Platform in Defence of the Ebro River, Catalonia
UPP – Un Ponte Per, Italy
CounterCurrent, Germany
The Corner House, UK
Friends of Earth, France
Italian Forum of Water Movements
Riverwatch - Society for the Protection of Rivers, Austria
Animals Are Sentient Beings, USA
Coordination EAU Île-de-France, France
Plan C, UK
Shoal Collective, UK
Hasankeyf Initiative Berlin, Germany
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA
Coordination EAU bien commun, France
Urgewald, Germany
Idle No More SF Bay, California/USA
EcoMujer, Germany
Solidarity Economy Association, UK
FreshWater Accountability Project, USA
Plataforma Ciudadana Zaragoza sin Fractura, Spain
Association of Popular Culture Alborada, Gallur/Spain
International Rivers, USA
Solifonds, Switzerland
Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), Netherlands
Ecological Center DRONT, Russia
Ecosocialist Horizons, USA
Socio-Ecological Union International, Russia
Biodiversity Conservation Center, Russia
Earth Law Centre, USA
Green Anti-Capitalist Front, UK
Cambridge Social Ecology Group, UK
Collectif montpelliérain de solidarité avec le peuple kurde, France
Integral Cooperative of Heraklion, Greece
BankTrack, Netherlands
Komite Internazionalistak, Basque Country
Italian Committee For World Water Contract, Italy
Earth Guardians, USA
European Sanitation Initiative (EuSAIN)
Berlin Water Table, Germany
EJAtlas project, ICTA – Autonomous University of Barcelona, Catalonia
Babylonia Journal, Greece
Transnational Institute of Social Ecology (TRISE), Greece
Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), Spain
Rete Kurdistan, Italy
Basque Platform of Solidarity with Kurdistan, Basque Country
Kurdistan Solidarity Network, UK
Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign, UK
Kurdistan Solidarity Committee Berlin, Germany
Hevalen-Gr, Collective of Solidarity with the Kurdish Struggle, Crete/Greece
Revolutionary Communist Group, UK


Email: hasankeyfgirisimi (at)
Twitter: @hasankeyfdicle

Water is under assault in Mesopotamia



Declaration of the First Mesopotamian Water Forum
University of Sulaimani,
Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, 6-8 April 2019

Over-extraction; the draining of marshes and wetlands; deforestation; too many irrigation projects, poorly-drained land; pesticides and fertiliser run-off; contamination by poorly or often un-treated discharges from industry as well as households; the widespread building of large and cascade small dams; the increasing exploitation of groundwater aquifers; stream channelization; inter catchment water transfer schemes; and the ravages of fossil-fuel-induced climatic change have variously disrupted hydrological cycles and created conditions of severe local and regional scarcity. For human and non-human beings, such physical scarcities have been exacerbated by policies aimed at commodifying and/or politicising water, denying access to the common good of water.

Taken separately, each of those assaults would be cause for grave concern. Taken together, they pose a threat to the collective survival of humans and non-humans alike. Defending water and the right of all forms of life to access to water, in Mesopotamia, is now a critical civic duty: without water, there can be no life.


Letter of support from the European Water Movement to the Mesopotamian Water Forum

With this letter, the members and allies of the European Water Movement express their support and solidarity to the people organizing the Mesopotamian Water Forum, a civil society forum on the alternative management of Euphrates and Tigris rivers and their tributaries in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran that will take place between 6 and 8 April 2019 in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan region of Iraq.

All over the world there are examples of damages caused by dams and hydropower plants. Evidence is well documented and international network of people fighting against these damages are ever growing. Therefore, the fight against dams might be considered as a global fight.

The European Water Movement is part of this international network defending the rivers, the territories and the communities linked to them.


Call of the European Water Movement for European elections

The European Water Movement is an open, participatory and pluralist network of social movements, organizations and committees, and trade unions whose aim is to strengthen the recognition of water as a commons and water and sanitation access as universal fundamental right. We are united in the fight against the privatization and the commodification of this vital resource, as well as in the promotion and the implementation of a public and collective management of the water and sanitation services, based on democratic participation of citizens and workers.

Since its foundation in 2012 the members of the European Water Movement have played a significant role and have engaged in advocating for water justice and the recognition and implementation of the human right to water and sanitation at EU, national and local level.

Our members are based in: Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Serbian and Bosnian organizations recently joint us.

The European elections in May 2019 are a crucial moment for the European Water Movement to get in touch with candidates: we call you to take a position in support of the human right to water and sanitation, commit to our values and promote policies that recognise water as a commons.


Seven years since the achievement of the first ever European Citizens Initiative, in which the European Water Movement played a key role, but we are still waiting for a real implementation of the human right to water and sanitation in the EU and the member states. It is a fundamental issue for the European Water Movement and its members, we ask you to commit to support it.

We also demand that all European water laws explicitly mention the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation, and water as a commons.

The lack of recognition of the human right to water and sanitation is reflected in a diverse range of policies at EU level where MEPs support is crucial.


The recast of the Drinking Water Directive voted by the European Parliament does not include or recognise the human right to water, while the European Commission pretended that this was one of the aim of the recast. We call on MEPs to scrap the current text and reformulate a more ambitious proposal reinforcing art 13 European Commission's draft. We also call for a more effective approach to chemical substances like PfAs or PfOs and microplastics. 


Clean water is essential to life, and this requires protecting water bodies. The Water Framework Directive, key legislative instrument for water protection, has to be continued after 2027. The upcoming fitness check must include a concretisation of the prohibition of water deterioration and strengthen effective enforcement mechanisms. Also, recital 1 needs to be strengthened according to the demands of the millions of citizens expressed by the Citizens' Initiative Right2Water: water supply and management of water bodies not be subject to ‘internal market rules’


Water and sanitation services are defined as essential services for everyone by principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights; therefore they must be explicitly excluded from trade and investment rules and agreements (such as CETA or JEFTA). Such exclusion is missing so far, despite European Parliament demands, including via the call for a “golden standard” clause for public services. Parliamentary control is crucial during the negotiation and implementation of these trade agreements. The precautionary principle is also of essential importance in the context of trade agreement. We call you to ensure democracy is protected and essential services such as water and sanitation are excluded from any trade agreement!


The debate about the commons is increasingly important in Europe; this includes cultural and digital commons, social commons, urban commons and natural commons (such as communal land and, of course, water). The eighth European Parliament has seen the creation of an intergroup focusing on commons in Europe. The commons are strongly connected with human rights and they offer a relevant and effective way out of the economic and social crisis, restructuring our economies and societies. We urge the European Parliament to continue working on the commons.


Remunicipalisation and public-public partnerships with a decisive role of citizens proved their effectiveness. They represent the best option for European water policy and real and effective democracy and transparency. Remunicipalisation took place in major cities such as Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Turin and Naples, in medium size cities like Terrassa, Valladolid, Montpellier and Rostok, and in small cities such as Medina Sidona and Arenys de Munt. Remunicipalisation is inseparable from fights against privatisation in Portugal and Greece, among others. We ask you to support legislative proposals for the development of public-public partnerships and encourage remunicipalisation of water and sanitation services in Europe! 

A private equity fund buys Indáqua

Translation in English of a STAL (Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Administração Local e Regional, Empresas Públicas, Concessionárias e Afins) press release.

Lisbon, 1 February 2019

STAL denounces the public water trade

In 2016, the portuguese construction group Mota-Engil, majority shareholder of Indáqua, the other shareholder being the German insurance group Talanx, sold its stake to the Israeli group Miya for € 60 million.

After three years, Indáqua, one of the largest private water service concessionaires in our country, is the target of a new transaction, bought this time by the International Private Equity Fund, Bridgepoint, ignoring the amounts involved in this business.

A business which, as STAL has always denounced, confirms that the financialization and growing dominance of foreign capital in the water sector, an inseparable consequence of privatization, would be a matter of time, as in all sectors open to privatization.